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or indeed at all. I scarcely need remind the reader. beyond its earthly level. its oceans have shrunk until they cover but a third of its surface. It has air and water and all that is necessary for the support of animated existence.000. Yet so vain is man. At most terrestrial men fancied there might be other men upon Mars. minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish. up to the very end of the nineteenth century. And early in the twentieth century came the great disillusionment. and so blinded by his vanity. The planet Mars.com . with scarcely a quarter of the superficial area and remoter from the sun. it necessarily follows that it is not only more distant from time's beginning but nearer its end. It is possible that the infusoria under the microscope do the same. Yet across the gulf of space. if the nebular hypothesis has any truth. has become a present- PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied. The fact that it is scarcely one seventh of the volume of the earth must have accelerated its cooling to the temperature at which life could begin. and as its slow seasons change huge snowcaps gather and melt about either pole and periodically inundate its temperate zones. perhaps inferior to themselves and ready to welcome a missionary enterprise. Its physical condition is still largely a mystery. It is curious to recall some of the mental habits of those departed days. perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. serene in their assurance of their empire over matter. That last stage of exhaustion. Its air is much more attenuated than ours.000 miles. expressed any idea that intelligent life might have developed there far. older than our world. intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic. and long before this earth ceased to be molten. but we know now that even in its equatorial region the midday temperature barely approaches that of our coldest winter. With infinite complacency men went to and fro over this globe about their little affairs. The secular cooling that must someday overtake our planet has already gone far indeed with our neighbour. life upon its surface must have begun its course. regarded this earth with envious eyes. that no writer. or thought of them only to dismiss the idea of life upon them as impossible or improbable. It must be. and slowly and surely drew their plans against us.fineprint. which to us is still incredibly remote. and the light and heat it receives from the sun is barely half of that received by this world.CHAPTER ONE THE EVE OF THE WAR No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own. Nor was it generally understood that since Mars is older than our earth. No one gave a thought to the older worlds of space as sources of human danger. revolves about the sun at a mean distance of 140.
It had occurred towards midnight of the twelfth. the creatures who inhabit this earth. indeed. but crowded only with what they regard as inferior animals. from which their shots were fired at us. that for countless centuries Mars has been the star of war--but failed to interpret the fluctuating appearances of the markings they mapped so well. As Mars approached opposition. and it would seem that this too is the belief of the minds upon Mars. The immediate pressure of necessity has brightened their intellects. Are we such apostles of mercy as to complain if the Martians warred in the same spirit? The Martians seem to have calculated their descent with amazing subtlety--their mathematical learning is evidently far in excess of ours--and to have carried out their preparations with a well-nigh perfect unanimity. Peculiar markings. I am inclined to think that this blaze may have been the casting of the huge gun. and then by other observers. such as the vanished bison and the dodo. a morning star of hope. and intelligences such as we have scarcely dreamed of. then by Perrotin of Nice. English readers heard of it first in the issue of NATURE dated August 2. And we men. During the opposition of 1894 a great light was seen on the illuminated part of the disk. first at the Lick Observatory. must be to them at least as alien and lowly as are the monkeys and lemurs to us. in spite of their human likeness. navy-crowded seas.day problem for the inhabitants of Mars. not only upon animals.fineprint. in the space of fifty years. with a cloudy atmosphere eloquent of fertility. and hardened their hearts. Men like Schiaparelli watched the red planet--it is odd. indicated a mass of flaming gas.com . at its nearest distance only 35.000. and the spectroscope. The storm burst upon us six years ago now. to which he had at once resorted. And looking across space with instruments. creeps upon them. The Tasmanians. moving with an PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. To carry warfare sunward is. by-the-bye. our own warmer planet. they see. enlarged their powers. as yet unexplained. chiefly hydrogen. their only escape from the destruction that. were entirely swept out of existence in a war of extermination waged by European immigrants. Had our instruments permitted it. were seen near the site of that outbreak during the next two oppositions. in the vast pit sunk into their planet. generation after generation. but upon its inferior races. Their world is far gone in its cooling and this world is still crowded with life. we might have seen the gathering trouble far back in the nineteenth century. with glimpses through its drifting cloud wisps of broad stretches of populous country and narrow. All that time the Martians must have been getting ready. Lavelle of Java set the wires of the astronomical exchange palpitating with the amazing intelligence of a huge outbreak of incandescent gas upon the planet. And before we judge of them too harshly we must remember what ruthless and utter destruction our own species has wrought.000 of miles sunward of them. The intellectual side of man already admits that life is an incessant struggle for existence. green with vegetation and grey with water.
at Ottershaw. As I watched. the little slit in the roof--an oblong profundity with the stardust streaked across it. He was immensely excited at the news. And invisible to me because it was so remote and small. This jet of fire had become invisible about a quarter past twelve. I might not have heard of the eruption at all had I not met Ogilvy. In spite of all that has happened since. the steady ticking of the clockwork of the telescope. the Thing that was to bring so much struggle and calamity and death to the earth. It seemed such a little thing. Ogilvy moved about. and I went stretching my legs clumsily and feeling my way in the darkness.fineprint. the slightest projection of the outline just as the chronometer struck midnight. no one on earth dreamed of that unerring missile. to the little table where the siphon stood. and in the excess of his feelings invited me up to take a turn with him that night in a scrutiny of the red planet. the planet seemed to grow larger and smaller and to advance and recede. were three faint points of light. and at that I told Ogilvy and he took my place. He compared it to a colossal puff of flame suddenly and violently squirted out of the planet. In a telescope it seems far profounder. so silvery warm--a pin's-head of light! It was as if it quivered. just a second or so under twenty-four PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. the shadowed lantern throwing a feeble glow upon the floor in the corner. three telescopic stars infinitely remote. That night another invisible missile started on its way to the earth from Mars. I never dreamed of it then as I watched. Yet the next day there was nothing of this in the papers except a little note in the DAILY TELEGRAPH. flying swiftly and steadily towards me across that incredible distance. Looking through the telescope. drawing nearer every minute by so many thousands of miles. so bright and small and still. The night was warm and I was thirsty. there was another jetting out of gas from the distant planet.enormous velocity towards this earth. A reddish flash at the edge. the well-known astronomer. I saw it. Near it in the field. invisible but audible. I remember. I still remember that vigil very distinctly: the black and silent observatory. Forty millions of miles it was from us--more than forty millions of miles of void. and the world went in ignorance of one of the gravest dangers that ever threatened the human race. You know how that blackness looks on a frosty starlight night. came the Thing they were sending us. But so little it was. but really this was the telescope vibrating with the activity of the clockwork that kept the planet in view. while Ogilvy exclaimed at the streamer of gas that came out towards us. faintly marked with transverse stripes.com . "as flaming gases rushed out of a gun. too. but that was simply that my eye was tired. and all around it was the unfathomable darkness of empty space. Few people realise the immensity of vacancy in which the dust of the material universe swims." A singularly appropriate phrase it proved. That night. one saw a circle of deep blue and the little round planet swimming in the field. and slightly flattened from the perfect round.
I remember how jubilant Markham was at securing a new photograph of the planet for the illustrated paper he edited in those days. "The chances against anything manlike on Mars are a million to one. and everywhere concerning the volcanoes upon Mars. I remember.000 miles away) I went for a walk with my wife.fineprint.000. and popular notes appeared here. Why the shots ceased after the tenth no one on earth has attempted to explain. For my own part. My PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. visible through a powerful telescope on earth as little grey. I was much occupied in learning to ride the bicycle. He pointed out to me how unlikely it was that organic evolution had taken the same direction in the two adjacent planets. little suspecting the meaning of the minute gleam I had seen and all that it would presently bring me. I remember how I sat on the table there in the blackness. Ogilvy watched till one. It may be the gases of the firing caused the Martians inconvenience. and so for ten nights. People in these latter times scarcely realise the abundance and enterprise of our nineteenth-century papers. or that a huge volcanic explosion was in progress. Down below in the darkness were Ottershaw and Chertsey and all their hundreds of people. and then gave it up. Dense clouds of smoke or dust. with patches of green and crimson swimming before my eyes. and pointed out Mars. hour by hour and day by day. and we lit the lantern and walked over to his house. and scoffed at the vulgar idea of its having inhabitants who were signalling us. He was full of speculation that night about the condition of Mars. From the railway station in the distance came the sound of shunting trains. Coming home. there. a flame each night. I wished I had a light to smoke by. with that swift fate hanging over us. One night (the first missile then could scarcely have been 10. There were lights in the upper windows of the houses as the people went to bed.com . towards which so many telescopes were pointed. made a happy use of it in the political cartoon. Hundreds of observers saw the flame that night and the night after about midnight. those missiles the Martians had fired at us drew earthward. rushing now at a pace of many miles a second through the empty gulf of space. It was a warm night. ringing and rumbling. and busy upon a series of papers discussing the probable developments of moral ideas as civilisation progressed. It was starlight and I explained the Signs of the Zodiac to her. a party of excursionists from Chertsey or Isleworth passed us singing and playing music." he said. softened almost into melody by the distance. and again the night after. His idea was that meteorites might be falling in a heavy shower upon the planet. nearer and nearer. all unsuspected.hours after the first one. fluctuating patches. a bright dot of light creeping zenithward. spread through the clearness of the planet's atmosphere and obscured its more familiar features. sleeping in peace. And. Even the daily papers woke up to the disturbances at last. men could go about their petty concerns as they did. It seems to me now almost incredibly wonderful that. The seriocomic periodical PUNCH.
The uncovered part had the appearance of a huge cylinder. green. It had a diameter of about thirty yards. however. and taken it for an ordinary falling star. An enormous hole had been made by the impact of the projectile. Find it he did. rushing over Winchester eastward. Surrey. Some of those who saw its flight say it travelled with a hissing sound.wife pointed out to me the brightness of the red. and Woking. stated that the height of its first appearance was about ninety or one hundred miles. forming heaps visible a mile and a half away. I myself heard nothing of that. and Middlesex must have seen the fall of it. CHAPTER TWO THE FALLING STAR Then came the night of the first falling star. It was. amidst the scattered splinters of a fir tree it had shivered to fragments in its descent. who had seen the shooting star and who was persuaded that a meteorite lay somewhere on the common between Horsell. our greatest authority on meteorites. since most meteorites are rounded more or less completely. Hundreds must have seen it. visible to me had I only looked up as it passed. have thought that another meteorite had descended. But very early in the morning poor Ogilvy. staring at its strange appearance. and yellow signal lights hanging in a framework against the sky. at most. The heather was on fire eastward. Yet this strangest of all things that ever came to earth from outer space must have fallen while I was sitting there. caked over and its outline softened by a thick scaly dun-coloured incrustation. I was at home at that hour and writing in my study. The Thing itself lay almost entirely buried in sand. PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. still so hot from its flight through the air as to forbid his near approach. Ottershaw. A stirring noise within its cylinder he ascribed to the unequal cooling of its surface. and. He remained standing at the edge of the pit that the Thing had made for itself. a line of flame high in the atmosphere. Many people in Berkshire. Albin described it as leaving a greenish streak behind it that glowed for some seconds. He approached the mass.com .fineprint. rose early with the idea of finding it. and the sand and gravel had been flung violently in every direction over the heath. and not far from the sand pits. It was seen early in the morning. Denning. for at that time it had not occurred to him that it might be hollow. I saw nothing of it. It seemed so safe and tranquil. soon after dawn. It seemed to him that it fell to earth about one hundred miles east of him. and a thin blue smoke rose against the dawn. and although my French windows face towards Ottershaw and the blind was up (for I loved in those days to look up at the night sky). No one seems to have troubled to look for the fallen mass that night. surprised at the size and more so at the shape.
and dimly perceiving even then some evidence of design in its arrival. and the only sounds were the faint movements from within the cindery cylinder. He fancied even then that the cooling of the body might account for this. The fellow thought he was a lunatic at large and made an unsuccessful attempt to shut him into the taproom. and. Then suddenly he noticed with a start that some of the grey clinker. the circular top of the cylinder was rotating on its body. and set off running wildly into Woking. That sobered him a little. The thought of the confined creature was so dreadful to him that he forgot the heat and went forward to the cylinder to help turn. The time then must have been somewhere about six o'clock. with a quick mental leap. A large piece suddenly came off and fell with a sharp noise that brought his heart into his mouth. "Henderson. he called over the palings and made himself understood. was already warm. he linked the Thing with the flash upon Mars. It was such a gradual movement that he discovered it only through noticing that a black mark that had been near him five minutes ago was now at the other side of the circumference. For a minute he scarcely realised what this meant. The cylinder was artificial--hollow--with an end that screwed out! Something within the cylinder was unscrewing the top! "Good heavens!" said Ogilvy. and the sun. in his garden. scrambled out of the pit. He did not remember hearing any birds that morning." he called.astonished chiefly at its unusual shape and colour. He was all alone on the common. It was dropping off in flakes and raining down upon the sand. Then the thing came upon him in a flash. was falling off the circular edge of the end. but what disturbed that idea was the fact that the ash was falling only from the end of the cylinder. very slowly. The early morning was wonderfully still. the ashy incrustation that covered the meteorite. and when he saw Henderson. then turned. He met a waggoner and tried to make him understand. until he heard a muffled grating sound and saw the black mark jerk forward an inch or so. just clearing the pine trees towards Weybridge. And then he perceived that. But luckily the dull radiation arrested him before he could burn his hands on the still-glowing metal.com . Even then he scarcely understood what this indicated.fineprint. "There's a man in it--men in it! Half roasted to death! Trying to escape!" At once. he clambered down into the pit close to the bulk to see the Thing more clearly. "you saw that shooting star last night?" PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. but the tale he told and his appearance were so wild--his hat had fallen off in the pit--that the man simply drove on. He was equally unsuccessful with the potman who was just unlocking the doors of the public-house by Horsell Bridge. there was certainly no breeze stirring. the London journalist. At that he stood irresolute for a moment. although the heat was excessive.
and lost no time in going out and across the Ottershaw bridge to the sand pits. in order to telegraph the news to London. CHAPTER THREE ON HORSELL COMMON I found a little crowd of perhaps twenty people surrounding the huge hole in which the cylinder lay. By eight o'clock a number of boys and unemployed men had already started for the common to see the "dead men from Mars." "Fallen meteorite! That's "But it's something more than a meteorite. covered with sand. sizzling sound." That was the form the story took.com ." "Good Lord!" said Henderson. meeting with no response. They listened. running up the little street in the bright sunlight just as the shop folks were taking down their shutters and people were opening their bedroom windows. It's a cylinder --an artificial cylinder. "It's out on Horsell Common now. I have already described the appearance of that colossal bulk. rapped on the scaly burnt metal with a stick. Then he dropped his spade. But now the sounds inside had ceased. they both concluded the man or men inside must be insensible or dead. They shouted consolation and promises. Of course the two were quite unable to do anything. and a thin circle of bright metal showed between the top and the body of the cylinder. and found the cylinder still lying in the same position. Air was either entering or escaping at the rim with a thin. Henderson was a minute or so taking it in.fineprint. snatched up his jacket. Henderson went into the railway station at once. man! And there's something inside. good. The turf and gravel about it seemed PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. "What's that?" he said." Henderson stood up with his spade in his hand. and went off back to the town again to get help. embedded in the ground. Ogilvy told him all that he had seen. The two men hurried back at once to the common. I was naturally startled. He was deaf in one ear."Well?" said Henderson. and came out into the road. I heard of it first from my newspaper boy about a quarter to nine when I went out to get my DAILY CHRONICLE. and. The newspaper articles had prepared men's minds for the reception of the idea. One can imagine them. excited and disordered.
but I judged it improbable that it contained any living creature. and had gone away to breakfast at Henderson's house. "Extra-terrestrial" had no meaning for most of the onlookers. to my home in Maybury. No doubt its impact had caused a flash of fire. and other people came. which was still as Ogilvy and Henderson had left it. full of such thought. and two or three loafers and golf caddies who were accustomed to hang about the railway station. on the difficulties in translation that might arise. It was only when I got thus close to it that the strangeness of this object was at all evident to me. a girl carrying a baby. But I found it difficult to get to work upon my abstract investigations. There was very little talking. I walked back. After I had spoken to them about it. The top had certainly ceased to rotate. indeed. whether we should find coins and models in it. I felt an impatience to see it opened.com .charred as if by a sudden explosion.fineprint. Gregg the butcher and his little boy. Some went away while I was there. with their feet dangling. a jobbing gardener I employed sometimes. I fancy the popular expectation of a heap of charred corpses was disappointed at this inanimate bulk. Yet it was a little too large for assurance on this idea. My mind ran fancifully on the possibilities of its containing manuscript. I still believed that there were men in Mars. Not so much so. they began playing at "touch" in and out of the group of bystanders. as nothing seemed happening. and amusing themselves--until I stopped them--by throwing stones at the giant mass. I clambered into the pit and fancied I heard a faint movement under my feet. I thought the unscrewing might be automatic. It required a certain amount of scientific education to perceive that the grey scale of the Thing was no common oxide. Most of them were staring quietly at the big tablelike end of the cylinder. that the yellowish-white metal that gleamed in the crack between the lid and the cylinder had an unfamiliar hue. At that time it was quite clear in my own mind that the Thing had come from the planet Mars. It looked like a rusty gas float. Henderson and Ogilvy were not there." PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. Among these were a couple of cyclists. Few of the common people in England had anything but the vaguest astronomical ideas in those days. At the first glance it was really no more exciting than an overturned carriage or a tree blown across the road. I think they perceived that nothing was to be done for the present. There were four or five boys sitting on the edge of the Pit. The early editions of the evening papers had startled London with enormous headlines: "A MESSAGE RECEIVED FROM MARS. and so forth. In the afternoon the appearance of the common had altered very much. In spite of Ogilvy. About eleven." "REMARKABLE STORY FROM WOKING.
but that the workmen had failed to unscrew the top. not a cloud in the sky nor a breath of wind. Besides that. he said. in spite of the heat of the day. but I was told he was expected from London by the six o'clock train from Waterloo. though its lower end was still embedded. I went home. and still giving off vertical streamers of smoke. I found it occupied by a group of about half a dozen men--Henderson. and so become one of the privileged spectators within the contemplated enclosure. a basketchaise from Chobham. An enterprising sweet-stuff dealer in the Chobham Road had sent up his son with a barrow-load of green apples and ginger beer.fineprint. but the level ground towards Ottershaw was blackened as far as one could see. and help to keep the people back. fair-haired man that I afterwards learned was Stent. The burning heather had been extinguished. The case appeared to be enormously thick. and it was possible that the faint sounds we heard represented a noisy tumult in the interior. and a tall. They wanted a light railing put up. his face was crimson and streaming with perspiration. so that there was altogether quite a considerable crowd--one or two gaily dressed ladies among the others. In addition. a large number of people must have walked. CHAPTER FOUR PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. It was glaringly hot. and something seemed to have irritated him. There were half a dozen flies or more from the Woking station standing in the road by the sand pits. The growing crowd. from Woking and Chertsey. the lord of the manor. He was standing on the cylinder. highpitched voice. Stent was giving directions in a clear. As soon as Ogilvy saw me among the staring crowd on the edge of the pit he called to me to come down. Going to the edge of the pit. I was very glad to do as he asked. especially the boys. Ogilvy's wire to the Astronomical Exchange had roused every observatory in the three kingdoms. In addition. had some tea. there was quite a heap of bicycles. which was now evidently much cooler.com . was becoming a serious impediment to their excavations. and as it was then about a quarter past five. A large portion of the cylinder had been uncovered. Ogilvy. as it afforded no grip to them. the Astronomer Royal. with several workmen wielding spades and pickaxes. and walked up to the station to waylay him. and the only shadow was that of the few scattered pine trees. He told me that a faint stirring was occasionally still audible within the case. and a rather lordly carriage. and asked me if I would mind going over to see Lord Hilton.and so forth. I failed to find Lord Hilton at his house.
I think everyone expected to see a man emerge--possibly something a little unlike us terrestrial men. I stuck my elbow into the person behind me. The crowd about the pit had increased. and some sort of struggle appeared to be going on about the pit. I presently saw something stirring within the shadow: greyish billowy movements. I'm a-goin' 'ome. about the thickness of a walking stick. The crowd had pushed him in. perhaps. looking. As I drew nearer I heard Stent's voice: "Keep back! Keep back!" A boy came running towards me. I heard a peculiar humming sound from the pit. "It's a-movin'. and then two luminous disks--like eyes. don't know what's in the confounded thing. The end of the cylinder was being screwed out from within. There were really. But. and one or two persons were returning. you know!" We I saw a young man. I know I did.fineprint. Nearly two feet of shining screw projected. Every one seemed greatly excited." I went on to the crowd. and I elbowed my way through. but in all essentials a man. A sudden chill came over me. I am. one above another." he said to me as he passed. "He's fallen in the pit!" cried some one. and I narrowly missed being pitched onto the top of the screw. The crowd swayed a little. "I say!" said Ogilvy. There was a loud shriek PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. Scattered groups were hurrying from the direction of Woking. two or three hundred people elbowing and jostling one another. standing on the cylinder and trying to scramble out of the hole again. and turned my head towards the Thing again. There were raised voices. and wriggled in the air towards me--and then another. and stood out black against the lemon yellow of the sky--a couple of hundred people. coiled up out of the writhing middle. Then something resembling a little grey snake. I should think. and as I did so the screw must have come out. "a-screwin' and a-screwin' out. "Keep back!" said several. a shop assistant in Woking I believe he was. I had the sunset in my eyes.com . "help keep these idiots back. the one or two ladies there being by no means the least active. for the lid of the cylinder fell upon the gravel with a ringing concussion. Strange imaginings passed through my mind. For a moment that circular cavity seemed perfectly black.THE CYLINDER OPENS When I returned to the common the sun was setting. I don't like it. I turned. Somebody blundered against me.
I stood petrified and staring. I heard inarticulate exclamations on all sides. The peculiar V-shaped mouth with its pointed upper lip. something in the clumsy deliberation of the tedious movements unspeakably nasty. PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. the Gorgon groups of tentacles.from a woman behind. and ungovernable terror gripped me. inhuman. with a renewed horror. perhaps. A big greyish rounded bulk. of a bear. or rather at the heaped gravel at the edge of the pit in which they lay. The whole creature heaved and pulsated convulsively. Stent among them. it glistened like wet leather. perhaps a hundred yards away. and began pushing my way back from the edge of the pit. standing like myself in a half-fascinated terror. the incessant quivering of this mouth. crippled and monstrous. a face. the absence of brow ridges. I looked again at the cylinder. I half turned. and saw the people on the other side of the pit running off. The mass that framed them. and had. As it bulged up and caught the light. another swayed in the air. black object bobbing up and down on the edge of the pit. There was a general movement backwards. The common round the sand pits was dotted with people.fineprint. the lipless brim of which quivered and panted. made for the first group of trees. and waited further developments. the extraordinary intensity of the immense eyes--were at once vital. the head of the thing. I was overcome with disgust and dread. was rounded. panting. staring at these creatures. Those who have never seen a living Martian can scarcely imagine the strange horror of its appearance. the absence of a chin beneath the wedgelike lower lip. the tumultuous breathing of the lungs in a strange atmosphere. I found myself alone. I saw the shopman struggling still on the edge of the pit. And then. Suddenly the monster vanished. from which other tentacles were now projecting. I saw astonishment giving place to horror on the faces of the people about me. and forthwith another of these creatures appeared darkly in the deep shadow of the aperture. was rising slowly and painfully out of the cylinder. this first glimpse. There was a mouth under the eyes. keeping my eyes fixed upon the cylinder still. Two large dark-coloured eyes were regarding me steadfastly. the size. It had toppled over the brim of the cylinder and fallen into the pit. among some young pine trees and furze bushes. for I could not avert my face from these things. It was the head of the shopman who had fallen in. the evident heaviness and painfulness of movement due to the greater gravitational energy of the earth--above all. running madly. one might say. There was something fungoid in the oily brown skin. I turned and. I saw a round. but showing as a little black object against the hot western sun. with a thud like the fall of a great mass of leather. There. intense. but I ran slantingly and stumbling. I heard it give a peculiar thick cry. A lank tentacular appendage gripped the edge of the cylinder. I stopped.com . and dropped saliva. Even at this first encounter.
and stood watching for a time side by side. and again he seemed to slip back until only his head was visible.Now he got his shoulder and knee up. but he made no answer to that. seeking some point of vantage and continually looking at the sand heaps that hid these new-comers to our earth. like the arms of an octopus. There were few near me. behind gates and hedges. Suddenly he vanished. a kind of fascination paralysed my actions. in a big curve. staring hard at a few heaps of sand. saying little to one another and that in short. I was a battleground of fear and curiosity. I remained standing knee-deep in the heather. Anyone coming along the road from Chobham or Woking would have been amazed at the sight--a dwindling multitude of perhaps a hundred people or more standing in a great irregular circle. the other a knot of people in the direction of Chobham. and in the sand pits was a row of deserted vehicles with their horses feeding out of nosebags or pawing the ground. Once a leash of thin black whips. bearing at its apex a circular disk that spun with a wobbling motion. But it was scarcely a time for articulate conversation. deriving. a certain comfort in one another's company. I perceived. excited shouts. Everything was then quite invisible. I began walking. a neighbour of mine.fineprint. flashed across the sunset and was immediately withdrawn. behind bushes. CHAPTER FIVE THE HEAT-RAY After the glimpse I had had of the Martians emerging from the cylinder in which they had come to the earth from their planet. I had a momentary impulse to go back and help him that my fears overruled. a queer derelict. Then I shifted my position to a little knoll that gave me the advantage of a yard or more of elevation and when I looked for him presently he was walking PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. hidden by the deep pit and the heap of sand that the fall of the cylinder had made. though I did not know his name--and accosted. staring at the mound that hid them. "Did you see a man in the pit?" I said. but I felt a passionate longing to peer into it. and afterwards a thin rod rose up. "Good God! What ugly brutes!" He repeated this over and over again. and staring. therefore. Evidently they shared my mental conflict. What could be going on there? Most of the spectators had gathered in one or two groups --one a little crowd towards Woking. One man I approached--he was. in ditches. We became silent. black against the burning sky. The barrow of ginger beer stood. "What ugly brutes!" he said. I did not dare to go back towards the pit. joint by joint. and I could have fancied a faint shriek had reached me.com . I fancy.
It was this. then to the left. The little knot of people towards Chobham dispersed. arrested by these phenomena. set with black pine trees. spreading out as they did so in a thin irregular crescent that promised to enclose the pit in its attenuated horns. and Henderson were with others in this attempt at communication. There had been a hasty consultation. that gave people courage. This was the Deputation. the foremost of whom was waving a white flag. intermittent movement upon the sand pits began. but afterwards I learned that Ogilvy. At any rate. watch. And then. their faces flashed out pallid green. seemed to grow. seemed to darken abruptly as these puffs arose. and to remain the darker after their dispersal. The sunset faded to twilight before anything further happened. and I suppose the new arrivals from Woking also helped to restore confidence. a movement that seemed to gather force as the stillness of the evening about the cylinder remained unbroken. into a long. the circumference of the now almost complete circle of people. by approaching them with signals. advancing from the direction of Horsell. I noted a little black knot of men. I saw a lad trundling off the barrow of apples. Stent. and a quantity of luminous greenish smoke came out of the pit in three distinct puffs. straight into the still air.com . At the same time a faint hissing sound became audible. It was too far for me to recognise anyone there. and a number of dim black figures followed it at discreet distances. in spite of their repulsive forms. flutter. as much as anything.fineprint. it had been resolved to show them. one after the other. as the dusk came on a slow. intelligent creatures. would be the better word for it) was so bright that the deep blue sky overhead and the hazy stretches of brown common towards Chertsey.towards Woking. The crowd far away on the left. Slowly a humped shape rose out of the pit. stop. As the green smoke arose. This little group had in its advance dragged inward. This smoke (or flame. within thirty yards of the pit. and the ghost of a beam PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. Flutter. Vertical black figures in twos and threes would advance. and heard the clatter of hoofs and the gride of wheels. Beyond the pit stood the little wedge of people with the white flag at its apex. that we too were intelligent. on my side began to move towards the pit. a little knot of small vertical black shapes upon the black ground. There was scarcely an intimation of movement from the pit. droning noise. Then I saw some cabmen and others had walked boldly into the sand pits. I. which drove up. and advance again. and I heard now a faint murmur from it. Then slowly the hissing passed into a humming. too. so to speak. went the flag. towards Woking. Suddenly there was a flash of light. and since the Martians were evidently. first to the right. perhaps. loud. and faded again as it vanished.
and in the west the sky was still a pale. pine trees burst into fire. and the houses towards Woking station were sending up spires of flame into the stillness of the evening air. I stood staring. sprang from the scattered group of men. Had that death swept through a full circle. Forthwith flashes of actual flame. Then. Something fell with a crash far away to the left where the road from Woking station opens out on the common. almost greenish blue. and as the unseen shaft of heat passed over them. and was too astounded and stupefied to stir. The little group of black specks with the flag of white had been swept out of existence. by the light of their own destruction. inevitable sword of heat. had scarcely been broken. a bright glare leaping from one to another. I heard the crackle of fire in the sand pits and the sudden squeal of a horse that was as suddenly stilled. I saw them staggering and falling. so it seemed to me. Then it was as if an invisible yet intensely heated finger were drawn through the heather between me and the Martians. Patches of bush and isolated trees here and there smoked and glowed still. An almost noiseless and blinding flash of light. and the black. I perceived it coming towards me by the flashing bushes it touched. All I felt was that it was something very strange. this flaming death. not as yet realising that this was death leaping from man to man in that little distant crowd. It was as if each man were suddenly and momentarily turned to fire. dumbfounded and dazzled by the flashes of light. Forthwith the hissing and humming ceased. The Martians and their appliances were altogether invisible. this invisible. Overhead the stars were mustering. But it passed and spared me. The undulating common seemed now dark almost to blackness. bright. and left the night about me suddenly dark and unfamiliar. and every dry furze bush became with one dull thud a mass of flames.fineprint. It was as if some invisible jet impinged upon them and flashed into white flame. and their supporters turning to run. Nothing was changed save for that and a terrible astonishment. The tops of the pine trees and the roofs of Horsell came out sharp and black against the western afterglow. All this had happened with such swiftness that I had stood motionless.of light seemed to flicker out from it. domelike object sank slowly out of sight into the pit. save for that thin mast upon which their restless mirror wobbled. except where its roadways lay grey and pale under the deep blue sky of the early night. It was dark. And far away towards Knaphill I saw the flashes of trees and hedges and wooden buildings suddenly set alight.com . It was sweeping round swiftly and steadily. PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. it must inevitably have slain me in my surprise. and suddenly void of men. and all along a curving line beyond the sand pits the dark ground smoked and crackled. and the stillness of the evening. and a man fell headlong and lay still.
when I was upon the very verge of safety. it is certain that a beam of heat is the essence of the matter. incontinently that explodes into steam.com . by means of a polished parabolic mirror of unknown composition. Once I had turned. and a number of people.It came to me that I was upon this dark common. much as the parabolic mirror of a lighthouse projects a beam of light. You may figure to yourself the PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. the excuse for walking together and enjoying a trivial flirtation. But no one has absolutely proved these details. but of the dusk and stillness all about me. Many think that in some way they are able to generate an intense heat in a chamber of practically absolute non-conductivity. lead runs like water. Heat. Such an extraordinary effect in unmanning me it had that I ran weeping silently as a child might do. However it is done. I did not dare to look back. and Ottershaw about the same time. With an effort I turned and began a stumbling run through the heather. and all night long the common from Horsell to Maybury was deserted and brightly ablaze. and making this novelty. CHAPTER SIX THE HEAT-RAY IN THE CHOBHAM ROAD It is still a matter of wonder how the Martians are able to slay men so swiftly and so silently. This intense heat they project in a parallel beam against any object they choose. and invisible. attracted by the stories they had heard. helpless. You may imagine the young people brushed up after the labours of the day. Suddenly. and alone.fineprint. Whatever is combustible flashes into flame at its touch. That night nearly forty people lay under the starlight about the pit. as they would make any novelty. but a panic terror not only of the Martians. shop people and so forth. light. were walking over the Horsell Bridge and along the road between the hedges that runs out at last upon the common. that presently. unprotected. charred and distorted beyond recognition. and when it falls upon water. I remember I felt an extraordinary persuasion that I was being played with. it softens iron. In Woking the shops had closed when the tragedy happened. like a thing falling upon me from without. came--fear. Woking. cracks and melts glass. The fear I felt was no rational fear. The news of the massacre probably reached Chobham. this mysterious death--as swift as the passage of light--would leap after me from the pit about the cylinder and strike me down. instead of visible.
hum of voices along the road in the gloaming. . . . As yet, of course, few people in Woking even knew that the cylinder had opened, though poor Henderson had sent a messenger on a bicycle to the post office with a special wire to an evening paper. As these folks came out by twos and threes upon the open, they found little knots of people talking excitedly and peering at the spinning mirror over the sand pits, and the new-comers were, no doubt, soon infected by the excitement of the occasion. By half past eight, when the Deputation was destroyed, there may have been a crowd of three hundred people or more at this place, besides those who had left the road to approach the Martians nearer. There were three policemen too, one of whom was mounted, doing their best, under instructions from Stent, to keep the people back and deter them from approaching the cylinder. There was some booing from those more thoughtless and excitable souls to whom a crowd is always an occasion for noise and horse-play. Stent and Ogilvy, anticipating some possibilities of a collision, had telegraphed from Horsell to the barracks as soon as the Martians emerged, for the help of a company of soldiers to protect these strange creatures from violence. After that they returned to lead that ill-fated advance. The description of their death, as it was seen by the crowd, tallies very closely with my own impressions: the three puffs of green smoke, the deep humming note, and the flashes of flame. But that crowd of people had a far narrower escape than mine. Only the fact that a hummock of heathery sand intercepted the lower part of the Heat-Ray saved them. Had the elevation of the parabolic mirror been a few yards higher, none could have lived to tell the tale. They saw the flashes and the men falling and an invisible hand, as it were, lit the bushes as it hurried towards them through the twilight. Then, with a whistling note that rose above the droning of the pit, the beam swung close over their heads, lighting the tops of the beech trees that line the road, and splitting the bricks, smashing the windows, firing the window frames, and bringing down in crumbling ruin a portion of the gable of the house nearest the corner. In the sudden thud, hiss, and glare of the igniting trees, the panic-stricken crowd seems to have swayed hesitatingly for some moments. Sparks and burning twigs began to fall into the road, and single leaves like puffs of flame. Hats and dresses caught fire. Then came a crying from the common. There were shrieks and shouts, and suddenly a mounted policeman came galloping through the confusion with his hands clasped over his head, screaming. "They're coming!" a woman shrieked, and incontinently everyone was turning and pushing at those behind, in order to clear their way to Woking again. They must have bolted as blindly as a flock of sheep. Where the road grows narrow and black between the high banks the crowd jammed, and a
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desperate struggle occurred. All that crowd did not escape; three persons at least, two women and a little boy, were crushed and trampled there, and left to die amid the terror and the darkness.
CHAPTER SEVEN HOW I REACHED HOME For my own part, I remember nothing of my flight except the stress of blundering against trees and stumbling through the heather. All about me gathered the invisible terrors of the Martians; that pitiless sword of heat seemed whirling to and fro, flourishing overhead before it descended and smote me out of life. I came into the road between the crossroads and Horsell, and ran along this to the crossroads. At last I could go no further; I was exhausted with the violence of my emotion and of my flight, and I staggered and fell by the wayside. That was near the bridge that crosses the canal by the gasworks. I fell and lay still. I must have remained there some time. I sat up, strangely perplexed. For a moment, perhaps, I could not clearly understand how I came there. My terror had fallen from me like a garment. My hat had gone, and my collar had burst away from its fastener. A few minutes before, there had only been three real things before me--the immensity of the night and space and nature, my own feebleness and anguish, and the near approach of death. Now it was as if something turned over, and the point of view altered abruptly. There was no sensible transition from one state of mind to the other. I was immediately the self of every day again--a decent, ordinary citizen. The silent common, the impulse of my flight, the starting flames, were as if they had been in a dream. I asked myself had these latter things indeed happened? I could not credit it. I rose and walked unsteadily up the steep incline of the bridge. My mind was blank wonder. My muscles and nerves seemed drained of their strength. I dare say I staggered drunkenly. A head rose over the arch, and the figure of a workman carrying a basket appeared. Beside him ran a little boy. He passed me, wishing me good night. I was minded to speak to him, but did not. I answered his greeting with a meaningless mumble and went on over the bridge. Over the Maybury arch a train, a billowing tumult of white, firelit smoke, and a long caterpillar of lighted windows, went flying south--clatter, clatter, clap, rap, and it had gone. A dim group of people talked in the gate of one of the houses in the pretty little row of gables that was called Oriental Terrace. It was all so real and so familiar. And that behind me! It was frantic, fantastic! Such things, I told myself, could not be.
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Perhaps I am a man of exceptional moods. I do not know how far my experience is common. At times I suffer from the strangest sense of detachment from myself and the world about me; I seem to watch it all from the outside, from somewhere inconceivably remote, out of time, out of space, out of the stress and tragedy of it all. This feeling was very strong upon me that night. Here was another side to my dream. But the trouble was the blank incongruity of this serenity and the swift death flying yonder, not two miles away. There was a noise of business from the gasworks, and the electric lamps were all alight. I stopped at the group of people. "What news from the common?" said I. There were two men and a woman at the gate. "Eh?" said one of the men, turning. "What news from the common?" I said. "'Ain't yer just BEEN there?" asked the men. "People seem fair silly about the common," said the woman over the gate. "What's it all abart?" "Haven't you heard of the men from Mars?" said I; "the creatures from Mars?" "Quite enough," said the woman over the gate. and all three of them laughed. "Thenks";
I felt foolish and angry. I tried and found I could not tell them what I had seen. They laughed again at my broken sentences. "You'll hear more yet," I said, and went on to my home. I startled my wife at the doorway, so haggard was I. I went into the dining room, sat down, drank some wine, and so soon as I could collect myself sufficiently I told her the things I had seen. The dinner, which was a cold one, had already been served, and remained neglected on the table while I told my story. "There is one thing," I said, to allay the fears I had aroused; "they are the most sluggish things I ever saw crawl. They may keep the pit and kill people who come near them, but they cannot get out of it. . . . But the horror of them!" "Don't, dear!" said my wife, knitting her brows and putting her hand on mine. "Poor Ogilvy!" I said. there!" "To think he may be lying dead
My wife at least did not find my experience incredible. When I saw how deadly white her face was, I ceased abruptly.
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and denouncing the shortsighted timidity of the Martians. "They can scarcely move. albeit his muscular strength would be the same. On the surface of the earth the force of gravity is three times what it is on the surface of Mars." said I. The invigorating influences of this excess of oxygen upon the Martians indisputably did much to counterbalance the increased weight of their bodies. "They are dangerous because. His own body would be a cope of lead to him. but that was the last civilised dinner I was to eat for very many strange and terrible days. and so my reasoning was dead against the chances of the invaders. regretting Ogilvy's rashness. Both THE TIMES and the DAILY TELEGRAPH. contains far more oxygen or far less argon (whichever way one likes to put it) than does Mars. and tried to reassure her. two obvious modifying influences. no doubt. In particular I laid stress on the gravitational difficulty." I said. and discussed the arrival of that shipful of pitiless sailors in want of animal food. and both overlooked. are photographically distinct. "if the worst comes to the worst will kill them all. "We will peck them to death tomorrow.fineprint. "They have done a foolish thing. indeed. would weigh three times more than on Mars. in the second place. The atmosphere of the earth. My dear wife's sweet anxious face peering at me from under the pink lamp shade. they are mad with terror. I grew by insensible degrees courageous and secure. PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. That. And."They may come here. I remember that dinner table with extraordinary vividness even now. therefore.com . we now know. I pressed her to take wine. insisted on it the next morning." The intense excitement of the events had no doubt left my perceptive powers in a state of erethism. A Martian. tempering nuts with a cigarette." I did not know it. my dear. But I did not consider these points at the time. So some respectable dodo in the Mauritius might have lorded it in his nest. and the necessity of reassuring my wife. we all overlooked the fact that such mechanical intelligence as the Martian possessed was quite able to dispense with muscular exertion at a pinch. was the general opinion. the confidence of my own table. just as I did. for instance. With wine and food. Perhaps they expected to find no living things--certainly no intelligent living things." she said again and again. At the end of it I sat. I began to comfort her and myself by repeating all that Ogilvy had told me of the impossibility of the Martians establishing themselves on the earth. the white cloth with its silver and glass table furniture--for in those days even philosophical writers had many little luxuries--the crimson-purple wine in my glass. "A shell in the pit" said I. fingering my wineglass.
com . and everything was proceeding in the most ordinary way. after wiring for authentication from and receiving no reply--the man was killed--decided to print a special edition. drinking. was selling papers with the afternoon's news. A boy from the town. Many people had heard of the cylinder. mingled with their shouts of "Men from Mars!" Excited men came into the station about nine o'clock with incredible tidings. Maybe there was a murmur in the village streets. sleeping. The ringing impact of trucks. but for the most part the daily routine of working. went on as it had done for countless years--as though no planet Mars existed in the sky. In Woking junction. children were being put to bed. and saw only a rare. All over the district people were dining and supping. I doubt if you would have had one human being outside it. If on Friday night you had taken a pair of compasses and drawn a circle with a radius of five miles round the Woking sand pits. young people were wandering through the lanes love-making. or even an eye-witness of the later occurrences. caused a whirl of excitement. was the dovetailing of the commonplace habits of our social order with the first beginnings of the series of events that was to topple that social order headlong. students sat over their books. People rattling Londonwards peered into the darkness outside the carriage windows. a shouting. and talked about it in their leisure. Even within the five-mile circle the great majority of people were inert. whose emotions or habits were at all affected by the new-comers. trains were stopping and going on. and here and there a messenger. and caused no more disturbance than drunkards might have done.fineprint.CHAPTER EIGHT FRIDAY NIGHT The most extraordinary thing to my mind. a red glow and a PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. a novel and dominant topic in the public-houses. the and him not In London that night poor Henderson's telegram describing gradual unscrewing of the shot was judged to be a canard. others were shunting on the sidings. the sharp whistle of the engines from the junction. flickering. Even at Woking station and Horsell and Chobham that was the case. unless it were some relation of Stent or of the three or four cyclists or London people lying dead on the common. eating. I have already described the behaviour of the men and women to whom I spoke. his evening paper. of course. and a running to and fro. passengers were alighting and waiting. of all the strange and wonderful things that happened upon that Friday. vanishing spark dance up from the direction of Horsell. trenching on Smith's monopoly. working men were gardening after the labours of the day. until a late hour. but it certainly did not make the sensation that an ultimatum to Germany would have done.
It had a greenish colour. and all the next day. and with a few dark. and the charred bodies lay about on it all night under the stars. people coming and going but the crowd remaining. and farther than that fringe the inflammation had not crept as yet. The colonel of the regiment came to the Chobham bridge and was busy questioning the crowd at midnight. and ever and again a puff of greenishwhite smoke whirled up to the starlit sky. the next morning's papers were able to say. Save for such. So you have the state of things on Friday night. This was the second cylinder. Beyond was a fringe of excitement. One or two adventurous souls.thin veil of smoke driving across the stars. But the poison was scarcely working yet. In the rest of the world the stream of life still flowed as it had flowed for immemorial years. A noise of hammering from the pit was heard by many people. About eleven. Several officers from the Inkerman barracks had been on the common earlier in the day. and the people there kept awake till dawn. for now and again a light-ray. smouldering in places. Woking. had still to develop. A few seconds after midnight the crowd in the Chertsey road. A curious crowd lingered restlessly. was reported to be missing. sticking into the skin of our old planet Earth like a poisoned dart. All night long the Martians were hammering and stirring. was this cylinder. saw a star fall from heaven into the pine woods to the northwest. In the centre.com . and about four hundred men of the Cardigan regiment started from Aldershot. but they never returned. CHAPTER NINE PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. two Maxims. It was only round the edge of the common that any disturbance was perceptible. like the beam of a warship's searchlight swept the common. deaden nerve and destroy brain. sleepless. The military authorities were certainly alive to the seriousness of the business. Later a second company marched through Chobham to deploy on the north side of the common. and one. and thought that nothing more serious than a heath fire was happening. Here and there was a burning bush or tree. About eleven a company of soldiers came through Horsell. Around it was a patch of silent common. There were half a dozen villas burning on the Woking border. went into the darkness and crawled quite near the Martians. a squadron of hussars. that big area of common was silent and desolate. There were lights in all the houses on the common side of the three villages. at work upon the machines they were making ready. and the Heat-Ray was ready to follow. indefatigable. both on the Chobham and Horsell bridges.fineprint. and caused a silent brightness like summer lightning. Major Eden. it was afterwards found. dimly seen objects lying in contorted attitudes here and there. The fever of war that would presently clog vein and artery. and deployed along the edge of the common to form a cordon.
though my wife had succeeded in sleeping. None of them had seen the Martians. we might learn a thing or two. and boots coming to the calf." I saw my neighbour gardening. hot and close. for his gardening was as generous as it was enthusiastic. reassuring note--I heard a train running towards Woking. He told me that during the night the Martians had been surrounded by troops. and then grew serious over "poor Ogilvy. I think." he said. with. I went into my garden before breakfast and stood listening. and then strolled in to breakfast." After breakfast. Then--a familiar. I decided to walk down towards the common. chatted with him for a time. and." He came up to the fence and extended a handful of strawberries. I saw one of the Cardigan men standing sentinel there. "if that can possibly be avoided. "They aren't to be killed. and they had but the vaguest ideas of them. and that guns were expected." He laughed with an air of the greatest good humour as he said this. men in small round caps. "It would be curious to know how they live on another planet.fineprint. It was a day of lassitude too. They told me no one was allowed over the canal. At the same time he told me of the burning of the pine woods about the Byfleet Golf Links. and pointed out a haze of smoke to me. dark trousers. he said. and showing their blue shirts. But one's enough. It was a most unexceptional morning. I told them of my sight of the Martians on the previous evening." said he. I heard the rattle of his chariot and I went round to the side gate to ask the latest news. My neighbour was of opinion that the troops would be able to capture or to destroy the Martians during the day. The milkman came as usual. "It's a pity they make themselves so unapproachable. instead of working. I talked with these soldiers for a time. I am told. surely. "They say. on account of the thick soil of pine needles and turf. so that they plied me with questions. a rapidly fluctuating barometer.THE FIGHTING BEGINS Saturday lives in my memory as a day of suspense. I had slept but little. The woods. "that there's another of those blessed things fallen there--number two. Under the railway bridge I found a group of soldiers--sappers. and I rose early." he said." said the milkman. This lot'll cost the insurance people a pretty penny before everything's settled. The ordinary PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. They said that they did not know who had authorised the movements of the troops. looking along the road towards the bridge. but towards the common there was nothing stirring but a lark. their idea was that a dispute had arisen at the Horse Guards.com . were still burning. "They will be hot under foot for days. dirty red jackets unbuttoned.
that his son was among the dead on the common.com . you ought to ha" been born a rabbit Snippy. About half past four I went up to the railway station to get an evening paper. very tired for. I got back to lunch about two. "There ain't no time." said one. "Octopuses. I found people in the town quite secure again in the presence of the military. that's my tip. and they discussed the peculiar conditions of the possible fight with some acuteness. "Why not shell the darned things strite off and finish 'em?" said the little dark man. The Martians did not show an inch of themselves. The Martians PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. "that's what I calls 'em. I described the Heat-Ray to them. and went on to the railway station to get as many morning papers as I could. but without success. for the morning papers had contained only a very inaccurate description of the killing of Stent." "Where's your shells?" said the first speaker. as I have said." "'Ain't they got any necks. Do it in a rush. contemplative. "What's cover against this 'ere 'eat? Sticks to cook yer! What we got to do is to go as near as the ground'll let us. then?" said a third. "You carn tell what they might do. the tobacconist. The soldiers had made the people on the outskirts of Horsell lock up and leave their houses." said he. Henderson. But there was little I didn't know. The soldiers I addressed didn't know anything. abruptly-a little. say I. and do it at once.sapper is a great deal better educated than the common soldier." was the stereotyped formula of the papers. "Get aht!. the day was extremely hot and dull. They seemed busy in their pit. I repeated my description.fineprint." So they discussed it. for even Horsell and Chobham church towers were in the hands of the military authorities." said the first speaker. dark man. fishers of men--fighters of fish it is this time!" Talk about "It ain't no murder killing beasts like that. and I heard for the first time from Marshall. "Crawl up under cover and rush 'em." "Blow yer trenches! You always want trenches. A sapper told me it was done by a man in a ditch with a flag on a long pole." said another. I did not succeed in getting a glimpse of the common. and there was a sound of hammering and an almost continuous streamer of smoke. and they began to argue among themselves. and the others. After a while I left them. "Fresh attempts have been made to signal. smoking a pipe. Apparently they were busy getting ready for a struggle. and then drive a trench. Ogilvy. the officers were mysterious as well as busy. But I will not weary the reader with a description of that long morning and of the longer afternoon. and in order to refresh myself I took a cold bath in the afternoon.
Then I remembered her cousins at "Leatherhead!" I shouted above the sudden noise. My imagination became belligerent. and as I spoke the firing reopened for a moment upon the common. Leatherhead. in the hope of destroying that object before it opened. She looked away from me downhill. I and my wife stood amazed. and the roof line of the college itself looked as if a hundred-ton gun had been at work upon it. "But where are we to go?" said my wife in terror. starting out upon the lawn. They seemed very helpless in that pit of theirs. Close on the heels of that came a violent rattling crash. About six in the evening. One of our chimneys cracked as if a shot had hit it. and defeated the invaders in a dozen striking ways. It was only about five. and immediately after a gust of firing. as I sat at tea with my wife in the summerhouse talking vigorously about the battle that was lowering upon us. and a piece of it came clattering down the tiles and made a heap of broken red fragments upon the flower bed by my study window. "How are we to get to Leatherhead?" she said. telling her I would go upstairs myself for the box she was clamouring for. The pinnacle of the mosque had vanished. and without ceremony ran her out into the road. that shook the ground.com . and the tower of the little church beside it slide down into ruin. About three o'clock there began the thud of a gun at measured intervals from Chertsey or Addlestone. I must confess the sight of all this armament. astonished. that a field gun reached Chobham for use against the first body of Martians. I heard a muffled detonation from the common. Down the hill I saw a bevy of hussars ride under the railway bridge. At that I gripped my wife's arm. I saw the tops of the trees about the Oriental College burst into smoky red flame. something of my schoolboy dreams of battle and heroism came back. Then I fetched out the servant. It hardly seemed a fair fight to me at that time. greatly excited me. two others dismounted.fineprint. "We can't possibly stay here.took as much notice of such advances as we should of the lowing of a cow. and began PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. however. I learned that the smouldering pine wood into which the second cylinder had fallen was being shelled. three galloped through the open gates of the Oriental College. The people were coming out of their houses. quite close to us. I thought perplexed. Then I realised that the crest of Maybury Hill must be within range of the Martians" HeatRay now that the college was cleared out of the way. all this preparation." I said. and. flew.
and the Maybury Inn with its swinging sign. and you bring it back? What's going on now?" I explained hastily that I had to leave my home. for I knew the landlord had a horse and dog cart. and. The smoke already extended far away to the east and west--to the By- PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. I shouted after him: "What news?" He turned. stared. such plate as we had. I found him in his bar. In front was a quiet sunny landscape." said I." said the landlord. a wheat field ahead on either side of the road.com . In another moment we were clear of the smoke and noise. that his wife had gone to London with him and had locked up their house." and ran on to the gate of the house at the crest. Two pounds. over the stranger's shoulder. At the bottom of the hill I turned my head to look at the hillside I was leaving. A sudden whirl of black smoke driving across the road hid him for a moment. according to my promise. and spanking down the opposite slope of Maybury Hill towards Old Woking. drove it off down the road. Thick streamers of black smoke shot with threads of red fire were driving up into the still air. and I started off at once for the Spotted Dog. to get my servant's box. I saw the doctor's cart ahead of me. lugged it out." I said. for I perceived that in a moment everyone upon this side of the hill would be moving. "and I've no one to drive it.running from house to house. At the time it did not seem to me nearly so urgent that the landlord should leave his. "you are safe here"." "I'll give you two. and then caught the reins and jumped up into the driver's seat beside my wife. and the palings up the road glowed red. "I must have a pound. He was going on as I came out of my front door. I ran. I went in again. shining through the smoke that drove up from the tops of the trees. "Stop here. bawled something about "crawling out in a thing like a dish cover. one of the dismounted hussars came running up. The beech trees below the house were burning while I did this. rushed into my house and packed a few valuables.fineprint. "What for?" "And I'll bring it back by midnight. done up in a tablecloth. clapped it beside her on the tail of the dog cart. and so forth." said I. The sun. "what's the hurry? I'm selling my bit of a pig. I took care to have the cart there and then. quite unaware of what was going on behind his house. warning people to leave. seemed blood red. and throwing dark shadows upon the green treetops eastward. I ran to my neighbour's door and rapped to satisfy myself of what I already knew. While I was occupied in this way. talking to him. A man stood with his back to me. and threw an unfamiliar lurid light upon everything. "Lord!" said the landlord. He was going from house to house. lugging my treasures. leaving it in charge of my wife and servant. and so secured the dog cart.
and in my heart I was not so very sorry that I had to return to Maybury that night. pointing out that the Martians were tied to the Pit by sheer heaviness. she would. and I had immediately to turn my attention to the horse. and the hedges on either side were sweet and gay with multitudes of dog-roses. We got to Leatherhead without misadventure about nine o'clock.fineprint. The scent of hay was in the air through the lush meadows beyond Pyrford. one heard the whirr of a machine-gun that was presently stilled.fleet pine woods eastward. I am not an expert driver. My wife was curiously silent throughout the drive. but she answered only in monosyllables. to me. quiet air. leaving the evening very peaceful and still. I overtook and passed the doctor between Woking and Send. I think. I talked to her reassuringly. Had it not been for my promise to the innkeeper. albeit not a breath stirred the shrubs about us. For my own part. have urged me to stay in Leatherhead that night. It was nearly eleven when I started to return. CHAPTER TEN IN THE STORM Leatherhead is about twelve miles from Maybury Hill. Happily. and gave him a loose rein until Woking and Send lay between us and that quivering tumult. I knew the road PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. And very faint now. Would that I had! Her face. The road was dotted with people running towards us. When I looked back again the second hill had hidden the black smoke. walking out of the lighted passage of my cousins' house. but very distinct through the hot. The night was unexpectedly dark. I had been feverishly excited all day. Apparently the Martians were setting fire to everything within range of their Heat-Ray. I slashed the horse with the whip. I remember. The heavy firing that had broken out while we were driving down Maybury Hill ceased as abruptly as it began.com . it seemed indeed black. and it was as hot and close as the day. I can best express my state of mind by saying that I wanted to be in at the death. and an intermittent cracking of rifles. My cousins' man lit both lamps. and at the utmost could but crawl a little out of it. and the horse had an hour's rest while I took supper with my cousins and commended my wife to their care. and to Woking on the west. and seemed oppressed with forebodings of evil. I was even afraid that that last fusillade I had heard might mean the extermination of our invaders from Mars. was very white as we parted. Overhead the clouds were driving fast. Something very like the war fever that occasionally runs through a civilised community had got into my blood.
intimately. My wife stood in the light of the doorway, and watched me until I jumped up into the dog cart. Then abruptly she turned and went in, leaving my cousins side by side wishing me good hap. I was a little depressed at first with the contagion of my wife's fears, but very soon my thoughts reverted to the Martians. At that time I was absolutely in the dark as to the course of the evening's fighting. I did not know even the circumstances that had precipitated the conflict. As I came through Ockham (for that was the way I returned, and not through Send and Old Woking) I saw along the western horizon a blood-red glow, which as I drew nearer, crept slowly up the sky. The driving clouds of the gathering thunderstorm mingled there with masses of black and red smoke. Ripley Street was deserted, and except for a lighted window or so the village showed not a sign of life; but I narrowly escaped an accident at the corner of the road to Pyrford, where a knot of people stood with their backs to me. They said nothing to me as I passed. I do not know what they knew of the things happening beyond the hill, nor do I know if the silent houses I passed on my way were sleeping securely, or deserted and empty, or harassed and watching against the terror of the night. From Ripley until I came through Pyrford I was in the valley of the Wey, and the red glare was hidden from me. As I ascended the little hill beyond Pyrford Church the glare came into view again, and the trees about me shivered with the first intimation of the storm that was upon me. Then I heard midnight pealing out from Pyrford Church behind me, and then came the silhouette of Maybury Hill, with its treetops and roofs black and sharp against the red. Even as I beheld this a lurid green glare lit the road about me and showed the distant woods towards Addlestone. I felt a tug at the reins. I saw that the driving clouds had been pierced as it were by a thread of green fire, suddenly lighting their confusion and falling into the field to my left. It was the third falling star! Close on its apparition, and blindingly violet by contrast, danced out the first lightning of the gathering storm, and the thunder burst like a rocket overhead. The horse took the bit between his teeth and bolted. A moderate incline runs towards the foot of Maybury Hill, and down this we clattered. Once the lightning had begun, it went on in as rapid a succession of flashes as I have ever seen. The thunderclaps, treading one on the heels of another and with a strange crackling accompaniment, sounded more like the working of a gigantic electric machine than the usual detonating reverberations. The flickering light was blinding and confusing, and a thin hail smote gustily at my face as I drove down the slope. At first I regarded little but the road before me, and then abruptly my attention was arrested by something that was moving rapidly down the opposite slope of Maybury Hill. At first I took it for the wet roof of a house, but one flash
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following another showed it to be in swift rolling movement. It was an elusive vision--a moment of bewildering darkness, and then, in a flash like daylight, the red masses of the Orphanage near the crest of the hill, the green tops of the pine trees, and this problematical object came out clear and sharp and bright. And this Thing I saw! How can I describe it? A monstrous tripod, higher than many houses, striding over the young pine trees, and smashing them aside in its career; a walking engine of glittering metal, striding now across the heather; articulate ropes of steel dangling from it, and the clattering tumult of its passage mingling with the riot of the thunder. A flash, and it came out vividly, heeling over one way with two feet in the air, to vanish and reappear almost instantly as it seemed, with the next flash, a hundred yards nearer. Can you imagine a milking stool tilted and bowled violently along the ground? That was the impression those instant flashes gave. But instead of a milking stool imagine it a great body of machinery on a tripod stand. Then suddenly the trees in the pine wood ahead of me were parted, as brittle reeds are parted by a man thrusting through them; they were snapped off and driven headlong, and a second huge tripod appeared, rushing, as it seemed, headlong towards me. And I was galloping hard to meet it! At the sight of the second monster my nerve went altogether. Not stopping to look again, I wrenched the horse's head hard round to the right and in another moment the dog cart had heeled over upon the horse; the shafts smashed noisily, and I was flung sideways and fell heavily into a shallow pool of water. I crawled out almost immediately, and crouched, my feet still in the water, under a clump of furze. The horse lay motionless (his neck was broken, poor brute!) and by the lightning flashes I saw the black bulk of the overturned dog cart and the silhouette of the wheel still spinning slowly. In another moment the colossal mechanism went striding by me, and passed uphill towards Pyrford. Seen nearer, the Thing was incredibly strange, for it was no mere insensate machine driving on its way. Machine it was, with a ringing metallic pace, and long, flexible, glittering tentacles (one of which gripped a young pine tree) swinging and rattling about its strange body. It picked its road as it went striding along, and the brazen hood that surmounted it moved to and fro with the inevitable suggestion of a head looking about. Behind the main body was a huge mass of white metal like a gigantic fisherman's basket, and puffs of green smoke squirted out from the joints of the limbs as the monster swept by me. And in an instant it was gone. So much I saw then, all vaguely for the flickering of the lightning, in blinding highlights and dense black shadows. As it passed it set up an exultant deafening howl that drowned the thunder--"Aloo! Aloo!"--and in another minute it was with its companion, half a mile away, stooping over something in the field. I have no doubt this Thing in the field was the third of the ten cylinders they had fired at us from
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Mars. For some minutes I lay there in the rain and darkness watching, by the intermittent light, these monstrous beings of metal moving about in the distance over the hedge tops. A thin hail was now beginning, and as it came and went their figures grew misty and then flashed into clearness again. Now and then came a gap in the lightning, and the night swallowed them up. I was soaked with hail above and puddle water below. It was some time before my blank astonishment would let me struggle up the bank to a drier position, or think at all of my imminent peril. Not far from me was a little one-roomed squatter's hut of wood, surrounded by a patch of potato garden. I struggled to my feet at last, and, crouching and making use of every chance of cover, I made a run for this. I hammered at the door, but I could not make the people hear (if there were any people inside), and after a time I desisted, and, availing myself of a ditch for the greater part of the way, succeeded in crawling, unobserved by these monstrous machines, into the pine woods towards Maybury. Under cover of this I pushed on, wet and shivering now, towards my own house. I walked among the trees trying to find the footpath. It was very dark indeed in the wood, for the lightning was now becoming infrequent, and the hail, which was pouring down in a torrent, fell in columns through the gaps in the heavy foliage. If I had fully realised the meaning of all the things I had seen I should have immediately worked my way round through Byfleet to Street Cobham, and so gone back to rejoin my wife at Leatherhead. But that night the strangeness of things about me, and my physical wretchedness, prevented me, for I was bruised, weary, wet to the skin, deafened and blinded by the storm. I had a vague idea of going on to my own house, and that was as much motive as I had. I staggered through the trees, fell into a ditch and bruised my knees against a plank, and finally splashed out into the lane that ran down from the College Arms. I say splashed, for the storm water was sweeping the sand down the hill in a muddy torrent. There in the darkness a man blundered into me and sent me reeling back. He gave a cry of terror, sprang sideways, and rushed on before I could gather my wits sufficiently to speak to him. So heavy was the stress of the storm just at this place that I had the hardest task to win my way up the hill. I went close up to the fence on the left and worked my way along its palings. Near the top I stumbled upon something soft, and, by a flash of lightning, saw between my feet a heap of black broadcloth and a pair of boots. Before I could distinguish clearly how the man lay, the flicker of light had passed. I stood over him waiting for the next flash. When it came, I saw that he
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So far as I could see by the flashes. It was the landlord of the Spotted Dog. the common about the sand pits was visible. but why I did so I do not know. and he lay crumpled up close to the fence. Down the road towards Maybury Bridge there were voices and the sound of feet. and his face leaped upon me. staggered to the foot of the staircase. I stopped short in the doorway. but I had not the courage to shout or to go to them. and of the dead body smashed against the fence. and with little pools of water about me on the stair carpet. shivering violently. and sat down. Nothing was burning on the hillside. as though he had been flung violently against it. I stepped over him gingerly and pushed on up the hill. He was quite dead. and. The window of my study looks over the trees and the railway towards Horsell Common. the houses about me were mostly uninjured. CHAPTER ELEVEN AT THE WINDOW I have already said that my storms of emotion have a trick of exhausting themselves. The lightning flashed for a third time. My imagination was full of those striding metallic monsters. Overcoming the repugnance natural to one who had never before touched a dead body. Across the light huge black shapes. whose conveyance I had taken. By the College Arms a dark heap lay in the road. I got up almost mechanically. locked and bolted the door. the side of the room seemed impenetrably dark. The towers of the Oriental College and the pine trees about it had gone. PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. The thunderstorm had passed. Apparently his neck had been broken.com . by contrast with the picture the window frame enclosed. his head was bent under his body. and very far away. I made my way by the police station and the College Arms towards my own house. closed.was a sturdy man. I let myself in with my latchkey. and then I was moved to change my clothes. lit by a vivid red glare. moved busily to and fro. I sprang to my feet. cheaply but not shabbily dressed. grotesque and strange. In the hurry of our departure this window had been left open. After I had done that I went upstairs to my study. went into the dining room and drank some whiskey.fineprint. I stooped and turned him over to feel for his heart. I crouched at the foot of the staircase with my back to the wall. though from the common there still came a red glare and a rolling tumult of ruddy smoke beating up against the drenching hail. The passage was dark. After a time I discovered that I was cold and wet.
there were a black heap and a vivid glare. of the Potteries at night. the hinder carriages still upon the rails. The light upon the railway puzzled me at first. swaying and writhing with the gusts of the dying storm. that black expanse set with fire. and the burning county towards Chobham-stretched irregular patches of dark country. and throwing a red reflection upon the cloud scud above. and rousing myself from the lethargy that had fallen upon me. the train. It was the strangest spectacle. Neither could I see the nearer fire. when a soldier came into my garden. I closed the door noiselessly and crept towards the window. I heard a slight scraping at the fence. Every now and then a haze of smoke from some nearer conflagration drove across the window and hid the Martian shapes.It seemed indeed as if the whole country in that direction was on fire--a broad hillside set with minute tongues of flame. using. Were they intelligent mechanisms? Such a thing I felt was impossible. on the one hand. sat down. though I peered intently for them. though the reflections of it danced on the wall and ceiling of the study. the relation between these mechanical colossi and the sluggish lumps I had seen disgorged from the cylinder. broken here and there by intervals of dimly glowing and smoking ground. I could not see what they were doing. With a queer feeling of impersonal interest I turned my desk chair to the window. and particularly at the three gigantic black things that were going to and fro in the glare about the sand pits. Then I perceived this was a wrecked train. ruling. this fiery chaos! What had happened in the last seven hours I still did not know. The storm had left the sky clear.fineprint. directing. though I was beginning to guess. At first I could distinguish no people at all. As I did so. nor did I know. A sharp. and to the right of that a row of yellow oblongs. on the railway. and several of the houses along the Maybury road and the streets near the station were glowing ruins. Or did a Martian sit within each. much as a man's brain sits and rules in his body? I began to compare the things to human machines. I began to ask myself what they could be. the fore part smashed and on fire. nor recognise the black objects they were busied upon. more than anything else. Later I saw against the light of Woking station a number of black figures hurrying one after the other across the line. Between these three main centres of light--the houses. It reminded me. and over the smoke of the burning land the little fading pinpoint of Mars was dropping into the west. They seemed amazingly busy. near the arch. the view opened out until.com . There was a light down below the hill. I looked down and saw PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. and on the other to the charred and blackened pine woods of Byfleet. it reached to the houses about Woking station. resinous tang of burning was in the air. to ask myself for the first time in my life how an ironclad or a steam engine would seem to an intelligent lower animal. and stared at the blackened country. And this was the little world in which I had been living securely for years. nor the clear form of them.
" I said. while I. The gun he drove had been unlimbered near Horsell. and began to sob and weep like a little boy. throwing him into a depression of the ground.com . "They wiped us out--simply wiped us out.fineprint. I went down. "Who's there?" he said. Then he came over and across the lawn to the corner of the house. He followed me. and its arrival it was that had precipitated the action. also whispering. almost mechanically. and had only come into action about seven. and locked the door again. stood beside him. I could not see his face. and I leaned out of the window eagerly. standing under the window and peering up. unfastened the door. He bent down and stepped softly. and let him in. At that time firing was going on across the common. It was a long time before he could steady his nerves to answer my questions. with a curious forgetfulness of my own recent despair. into the dining room. and it was said the first party of Martians were crawling slowly towards their second cylinder under cover of a metal shield. and his coat was unbuttoned. put his head on his arms. He was a driver in the artillery. Later this shield staggered up on tripod legs and became the first of the fighting-machines I had seen. "What has happened?" I asked." "Come into the house. "Take some whiskey. Then abruptly he sat down before the table." "Are you trying to hide?" "That's it. in order to command the sand pits. clambering over the palings. as I drew him in. and then he answered perplexingly and brokenly." I said. As the limber gunners went to the rear. At the same moment the PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. "God knows." he repeated again and again. He was hatless. He drank it. in a perfect passion of emotion. "My God!" he said. "Hist!" said I. pouring out a stiff dose. in a whisper. "Where are you going?" I asked.him dimly. At the sight of another human being my torpor passed. "What hasn't?" In the obscurity I could see he made a gesture of despair. wondering. He stopped astride of the fence in doubt. his horse trod in a rabbit hole and came down.
And the smell--good God! Like burnt meat! I was hurt across the back by the fall of the horse. peeping out furtively across the common. so far as the soldier could see. and at that the artilleryman began to crawl very cautiously across the hot heather ash towards Horsell. "scared out of my wits. He heard the Martians rattle for a time and then become still. began to waddle away towards the smouldering pine woods that sheltered the second cylinder. It seems there were a few people alive there. and so escaped to Woking. and hid among some almost scorching heaps of broken wall as one of the Martian giants returned.com . there was fire all about him. The Cardigan men had tried a rush. swish!" "Wiped out!" he said. the artilleryman made a rush for it and got over the railway embankment. The place was impassable. and out of the funnel of this there smoked the Heat-Ray.gun exploded behind him. and the town became a heap of fiery ruins. He grew PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. He was turned aside by the fire. and the water bubbling out like a spring upon the road. after nightfall. There his story became ejaculatory. He saw this one pursue a man. and he saw nothing of them. Since then he had been skulking along towards Maybury." he said. In a few minutes there was. in skirmishing order. A kind of arm carried a complicated metallic case. The giant saved Woking station and its cluster of houses until the last. simply to be swept out of existence. "I lay still. catch him up in one of its steely tentacles. At last. The hussars had been on the road beyond the curvature of the ground. He managed to get alive into the ditch by the side of the road. and every bush and tree upon it that was not already a blackened skeleton was burning. He had been consumed with thirst until he found one of the water mains near the railway arch smashed. and there I had to lie until I felt better. bit by bit. frantic for the most part and many burned and scalded. about which green flashes scintillated. and he found himself lying under a heap of charred dead men and dead horses. People were hiding in trenches and cellars. Then the Thing shut off the Heat-Ray. not a living thing left upon the common.fineprint. at the pit. We'd been wiped out. bang. then in a moment the Heat-Ray was brought to bear. with the fore quarter of a horse atop of me. and turning its back upon the artilleryman. with its headlike hood turning about exactly like the head of a cowled human being. Then the monster had risen to its feet and had begun to walk leisurely to and fro across the common among the few fugitives. As it did so a second glittering Titan built itself up out of the pit. and knock his head against the trunk of a pine tree. the ammunition blew up. The second monster followed the first. Just like parade it had been a minute before-then stumble. He had hid under the dead horse for a long time. in the hope of getting out of danger Londonward. That was the story I got from him. and many of the survivors had made off towards Woking village and Send.
They became pillars of bloodshot smoke at the first touch of day. 12. to make his way Londonward. As he talked. It would seem that a number of men or animals had rushed across the lawn. the end of a greenhouse there. Never before in the history of warfare had destruction been so indiscriminate and so universal. and vanished. three of the metallic giants stood about the pit. and I looked again out of the open window. white and fresh amid the wreckage. He had eaten no food since midday.com . and I found some mutton and bread in the pantry and brought it into the room. and so greatly had the strength of the Martians impressed me that I had determined to take my wife to Newhaven. their cowls rotating as though they were surveying the desolation they had made. and went very quietly downstairs. he told me early in his narrative. but the countless ruins of shattered and gutted houses and blasted and blackened trees that the night had hidden stood out now gaunt and terrible in the pitiless light of dawn. We lit no lamp for fear of attracting the Martians. and go with her out of the country forthwith. And shining with the growing light of the east. I began to see his face. and the trampled bushes and broken rose trees outside the window grew distinct. whirled. When we had finished eating we went softly upstairs to my study. Where flames had been there were now streamers of smoke. For I already perceived clearly that the country about London must inevitably be the scene of a disastrous struggle before PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. as no doubt mine was also. of the Horse Artillery. The artilleryman agreed with me that the house was no place to stay in. and ever and again our hands would touch upon bread or meat. He proposed. Beyond were the pillars of fire about Chobham. blackened and haggard. things about us came darkly out of the darkness. he said. and thence rejoin his battery--No. broke.fineprint. CHAPTER TWELVE WHAT I SAW OF THE DESTRUCTION OF WEYBRIDGE AND SHEPPERTON As the dawn grew brighter we withdrew from the window from which we had watched the Martians.calmer telling me and trying to make me see the things he had seen. My plan was to return at once to Leatherhead. Yet here and there some object had had the luck to escape--a white railway signal here. The fires had dwindled now. In one night the valley had become a valley of ashes. It seemed to me that the pit had been enlarged. and ever and again puffs of vivid green vapour streamed up and out of it towards the brightening dawn--streamed up.
none of the houses had suffered very greatly here. In one place the woodmen had been at work on Saturday. I suppose. A cash box had been hastily smashed open and thrown under the debris. Hard by was a temporary hut. After a time we drew near the road. it had failed to secure its footing. I think I should have taken my chance and struck across country. There was not a breath of wind this morning. Thence I would make a big detour by Epsom to reach Leatherhead. The woods across the line were but the scarred and blackened ruins of woods." he said. and everything was strangely still. We hailed them. At the corner turning up towards the post office a little cart. which was still on fire. He made me ransack the house for a flask. Had I been alone. felled and freshly trimmed.such creatures as these could be destroyed. PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. Then we crept out of the house. trees. and the like poor valuables. and they halted while we hurried towards them. struck dead by the Heat-Ray. I should have started at once. and horseless. Even the birds were hushed. a silver spoon. and here and there were things that people had dropped--a clock. save ourselves. lay in a clearing. but a certain proportion still stood. The HeatRay had shaved the chimney tops and passed. northward as far as Street Cobham before I parted with him. and in the end I agreed to go with him. We went down the lane.fineprint. with dark brown foliage instead of green. and ran as quickly as we could down the ill-made road by which I had come overnight. which he filled with whiskey. "to make her a widow". under cover of the woods. deserted. heeled over on a broken wheel. It was a lieutenant and a couple of privates of the 8th Hussars. On our side the fire had done no more than scorch the nearer trees. with heaps of sawdust by the sawing-machine and its engine. filled with boxes and furniture. with its guarding giants. by the body of the man in black. and we lined every available pocket with packets of biscuits and slices of meat. Yet. sodden now from the overnight hail. dismal grey stems. lay the third cylinder.com . In the road lay a group of three charred bodies close together. The majority of the inhabitants had escaped. Once or twice we stopped to listen. We pushed through these towards the railway without meeting a soul. Except the lodge at the Orphanage. which the artilleryman told me was a heliograph. and as we hurried along I and the artilleryman talked in whispers and looked now and again over our shoulders. a slipper. by way of the Old Woking road--the road I had taken when I drove to Leatherhead--or they had hidden. but my companion had been in active service and he knew better than that. there did not seem to be a living soul on Maybury Hill. and as we did so we heard the clatter of hoofs and saw through the tree stems three cavalry soldiers riding slowly towards Woking. for the most part the trees had fallen. Between us and Leatherhead. with a stand like a theodolite. But the artilleryman dissuaded me: "It's no kindness to the right sort of wife. and broke into the woods at the foot of the hill. however. The houses seemed deserted.
" "What the dickens are they like?" asked the lieutenant. Trying to rejoin battery. The artilleryman jumped down the bank into the road and saluted.com ." I answered. We were far beyond the range of the Heat-Ray there. sir. Hundred feet high. sir. and tell him all you know. and the knot of soldiers standing on the bridge over the railway and staring down the line towards Woking. They carry a kind of box. the lieutenant interrupted him and looked up at me. sir. Have been hiding. They were all too assiduously engaged to talk to us as we passed."You are the first men I've seen coming this way this morning. sir. He thanked me and rode on. and were piling it up with unclean-looking bundles and shabby furniture. I expect. busy clearing out a labourer's cottage. They had got hold of a little hand truck. "Giants in armour. you say?" said he. that shoots fire and strikes you dead. "Gun destroyed last night." said the lieutenant. Halfway through. Look here"--to the artilleryman--"we're detailed here clearing people out of their houses." I said. and had it not been for the silent desertion of some of the houses. "It's perfectly true. about half a mile along this road. "Well. You'll come in sight of the Martians. "What's brewing?" His voice and face were eager. The men behind him stared curiously. and found the country calm and peaceful under the morning sunlight. Farther along we came upon a group of three women and two children in the road. He's at Weybridge." "What d'ye mean--a gun?" "No. Know the way?" "I do." "Get out!" said the lieutenant. I was still standing on the bank by the side of the road. and he turned his horse southward again. sense!" "What confounded non- "You'll see. "At most. and pointed over the treetops southward. sir. sir. sir." and the artilleryman began a vivid account of the Heat-Ray. and we saw them no more. You'd better go along and report yourself to Brigadier-General Marvin. "I suppose it's my business to see it too. the day would have PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. the stirring movement of packing in others. Three legs and a body like 'luminium. "Half a mile." said the lieutenant. By Byfleet station we emerged from the pine trees.fineprint." I said. with a mighty great head in a hood.
were being loaded in the village street. carriages everywhere. The respectable inhabitants of the place. for the most part. wives prettily dressed. and the ammunition waggons were at a business-like distance. the most astonishing miscellany of conveyances and horseflesh. At the corner I looked back. angrily expostulating with the corporal who would leave them behind. men in golf and boating costumes. and an old omnibus. and a score of hussars. children excited. there were a number of men in white fatigue jackets throwing up a long rampart. pointing at the pine tops that hid the Martians. highly delighted at this astonishing PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. I stopped and gripped his arm. anyhow. "That's good!" said I.com . most of them sufficiently sabbatical to have assumed their best clothes.fineprint. and more guns behind. There were scores of people. Three or four black government waggons. Several farm waggons and carts were moving creakily along the road to Addlestone." he said. and suddenly through the gate of a field we saw. at any The artilleryman hesitated at the gate. river-side loafers energetically helping. six twelvepounders standing neatly at equal distances pointing towards Woking. The soldier had left him. "I shall go on. I hurried on after the artilleryman. "Eh?" said he. with crosses in white circles. The men stood almost as if under inspection. people packing.seemed very like any other Sunday." said the artilleryman. "Death is coming! Death!" and leaving him to digest that if he could. and. some of them dismounted. "It's bows and arrows against the lightning. We saw one shrivelled old fellow with a huge box and a score or more of flower pots containing orchids. and the men digging would stop every now and again to stare in the same direction. "Do you know what's over there?" I said. some on horseback. and staring vaguely over the trees. "They 'aven't seen that fire-beam yet. rate. were hunting them about. the whole place was in such confusion as I had never seen in any town before. turning." The officers who were not actively engaged stood and stared over the treetops southwestward. Farther on towards Weybridge. The soldiers were having the greatest difficulty in making them realise the gravity of their position. among other vehicles. across a stretch of flat meadow. with the pots of orchids on the lid of it. No one in Weybridge could tell us where the headquarters were established. Carts. were packing. and he was still standing by his box. "I was explainin" these is vallyble. The gunners stood by the guns waiting." "Death!" I shouted." "They will get one fair shot. just over the bridge. Byfleet was in a tumult.
fineprint. without offering to help. Almost immediately unseen batteries across the river to our right. and one man was even jesting. took up the chorus. at the meadows towards Chertsey. firing heavily one after the other. "What's that?" cried a boatman. who might attack and sack the town. The big ferryboat had just made a journey. staring and jesting at the fugitives. As yet the flight had not grown to a panic. and there was a ferry across the river. but grenadiers in white--were warning people to move now or to take refuge in their cellars as soon as the firing began. Then the sound came again. you fool!" said a man near me to a yelping dog. Everyone stood arrested by the sudden stir of battle. one husband and wife were even carrying a small outhouse door between them. A woman screamed. Nothing was to PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. The fighting was beginning. The people who landed there from the boats went tramping off down the lane. Three or four soldiers stood on the lawn of the inn. in vivid contrast with the Surrey side. except just where the boats landed. The ordinary traffic had been stopped. The idea people seemed to have here was that the Martians were simply formidable human beings. this time from the direction of Chertsey. with some of their household goods piled thereon.variation of their Sunday experiences. seated on the step of the drinking fountain. in order to allow of the passage of troops and guns to Chertsey. The Wey has a treble mouth. and "Shut up. In the midst of it all the worthy vicar was very pluckily holding an early celebration. Every now and then people would glance nervously across the Wey. Across the Thames. made a very passable meal upon what we had brought with us. and I have heard since that a savage struggle occurred for places in the special trains that were put on at a later hour. everything was quiet. and at that hour we found ourselves at the place near Shepperton Lock where the Wey and Thames join. as it was now within prohibited hours. The inn was closed. near us and yet invisible to us.com . Here we found an excited and noisy crowd of fugitives. and his bell was jangling out above the excitement. and the swarming platform was piled with boxes and packages. but there were already far more people than all the boats going to and fro could enable to cross. but everything over there was still. and at this point boats are to be hired. Patrols of soldiers--here no longer hussars. Part of the time we spent helping two old women to pack a little cart. We saw as we crossed the railway bridge that a growing crowd of people had assembled in and about the railway station. One man told us he meant to try to get away from Shepperton station. On the Shepperton side was an inn with a lawn. People came panting along under heavy burdens. unseen because of the trees. I and the artilleryman. and beyond that the tower of Shepperton Church --it has been replaced by a spire--rose above the trees. to be certainly destroyed in the end. a muffled thud--the sound of a gun. There was a lot of shouting. I believe. We remained at Weybridge until midday.
When. A boatload of people putting back came leaping out as I rushed past. too frightened to drop the portmanteau he carried on his shoulder. and the ghostly. flourished a huge case high in the air.be seen save flat meadows. The terrible Heat-Ray was in my mind. across the flat meadows that stretched towards Chertsey. A woman thrust at me with her hand and rushed past me. Then a hoarse murmur and a movement of feet--a splashing from the water. going with a rolling motion and as fast as flying birds. four of the armoured Martians appeared. One on the extreme left. and striding hurriedly towards the river. The splashes of the people in the boats leaping into the river sounded like thunderclaps in my ears. I faced about again. The stones under my feet were muddy and slippery. Then. A man. Their armoured bodies glittered in the sun as they swept swiftly forward upon the guns. two. three. one after the other. I turned with the rush of the people. half suffocated. and terrible creatures the crowd near the water's edge seemed to me to be for a moment horror-struck. There was no screaming or shouting. At sight of these strange. and silvery pollard willows motionless in the warm sunlight. terrible Heat-Ray I had already seen on Friday night smote towards Chertsey. rushed right down the gravelly beach and headlong into the water.fineprint. but I was not too terrified for thought. came a fifth. A haziness rose over the treetops. But the Martian machine took no more notice for the moment of the people running this way and that than a man would of the confusion of ants in a nest against which his foot has kicked. smashing two or three windows in the houses near. "The sojers'll stop 'em. To get under water! That was it! "Get under water!" I shouted. a puff of smoke that jerked up into the air and hung. advancing obliquely towards us. Others did the same. but a silence. growing rapidly larger as they drew nearer. and the river was so low that I ran perhaps twenty feet scarcely waist-deep.com . I raised my head above water. the remotest that is. Then suddenly we saw a rush of smoke far away up the river. and forthwith the ground heaved under foot and a heavy explosion shook the air. the Martian's hood pointed at the batteries that PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. cows feeding unconcernedly for the most part. and leaving us astonished. doubtfully. far away over the little trees. "Here they are!" shouted a man in a blue jersey. Then. D'yer see them? Yonder!" "Yonder! Quickly. Little cowled figures they seemed at first. as the Martian towered overhead scarcely a couple of hundred yards away." said a woman beside me. one. I flung myself forward under the surface. and struck the town. People were landing hastily on both sides of the river. and rushed towards the approaching Martian. swift. unheeded. swung round and sent me staggering with a blow from the corner of his burden.
The fallen Martian came into sight downstream. made my heart jump. steam.were still firing across the river. like a muddy tidal bore but almost scaldingly hot. The sudden near concussion. I could have leaped out of the water with that momentary exultation. and the Thing was now but a mere intricate device of metal whirling to destruction. "Hit!" shouted I. Half a dozen deserted boats pitched aimlessly upon the confusion of the waves. In another moment a huge wave. The knees of its foremost legs bent at the farther bank. A violent explosion shook the air. my attention was riveted upon the nearer incident. Simultaneously two other shells burst in the air near the body as the hood twisted round in time to receive. close to the village of Shepperton. I gave a cry of astonishment. In another moment it was on the bank. It recovered its balance by a miracle. incapable of guidance. lying across the river. and. had been hidden behind the outskirts of that village. and heard their screaming and shouting faintly above the seething and roar of the Martian's collapse. blundered on and collapsed with tremendous force into the river out of my sight. until I could see round the bend. the last close upon the first. For a moment I heeded nothing of the heat. the latter had immediately flashed into steam. with something between a scream and a cheer. smashing it down as the impact of a battering ram might have done. swerved aside. Forthwith the six guns which. I heard answering shouts from the people in the water about me. flashed. The living intelligence. It drove along in a straight line. It struck the tower of Shepperton Church. it reeled swiftly upon Shepperton. and in another moment it had raised itself to its full height again. I saw and thought nothing of the other four Martian monsters. and in a stride wading halfway across. As the camera of the Heat-Ray hit the water. pushing aside a man in black to do so. fired simultaneously. and for the most part submerged. I saw people struggling shorewards. mud. was slain and splashed to the four winds of heaven. PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. but it did not fall over. and shattered metal shot far up into the sky. the Martian within the hood. The hood bulged. the fourth shell. I splashed through the tumultuous water. The monster was already raising the case generating the Heat-Ray as the first shell burst six yards above the hood. came sweeping round the bend upstream. unknown to anyone on the right bank. but not in time to dodge. was whirled off in a dozen tattered fragments of red flesh and glittering metal. forgot the patent need of self-preservation. The decapitated colossus reeled like a drunken giant. and as it advanced it swung loose what must have been the generator of the Heat-Ray. no longer heeding its steps and with the camera that fired the Heat-Ray now rigidly upheld. The shell burst clean in the face of the Thing.fineprint.com . and a spout of water.
blundered painfully ahead under the surface as long as I could. Enormous quantities of a ruddy-brown fluid were spurting up in noisy jets out of the machine. the thud of trees. The noise was deafening. The Ray flickered up and down the towing path.com . sheds flashing into flame. holding my breath until movement was an agony.fineprint. A man. the crash of falling houses. fences. The nearer houses still stood intact. The tentacles swayed and struck like living arms. the other towards Laleham. or running to and fro in utter dismay on the towing path. and. like that of the thing called a siren in our manufacturing towns. save for the helpless purposelessness of these movements. The water was in a tumult about me. Then I saw them dimly. magnified by the mist. The third and fourth stood beside him in the water. They had passed by me. dumbfounded at my position. shouted inaudibly to me and pointed. Dense black smoke was leaping up to mingle with the steam from the river. and darted out flames. the steam was rising in a whirling white fog that at first hid the Martians altogether. and the crackling and roaring of fire. the trees changed to fire with a roar. colossal figures of grey. with the fire behind them going to and fro. and as the Heat-Ray went to and fro over Weybridge its impact was marked by flashes of incandescent white. At that I ducked at once under water. the gigantic limbs churning the water and flinging a splash and spray of mud and froth into the air. and through the tumultuously whirling wisps I could see. tumultuous ruins of their comrade. a deafening and confusing conflict of noises--the clangorous din of the Martians. and the hissing beams smote down this way and that. it was as if some wounded thing were struggling for its life amid the waves. Looking back. licking off the people who ran this way and that. one perhaps two hundred yards from me. knee-deep near the towing path. that gave place at once to a smoky dance of lurid flames. My attention was diverted from this death flurry by a furious yelling. The air was full of sound. The generators of the Heat-Rays waved high. intermittently and vaguely. like little frogs hurrying through grass from the advance of a man. The houses caved in as they dissolved at its touch.Thick clouds of steam were pouring off the wreckage. For a moment perhaps I stood there. shadowy. I saw the other Martians advancing with gigantic strides down the riverbank from the direction of Chertsey. breast-high in the almost boiling water. When for a moment I raised my head to take breath and throw the hair and water from my eyes. and rapidly growing hotter. hopeless of escape. Then suddenly the white flashes of the Heat-Ray came leaping towards me. Through the reek I could see the people who had been with me in the river scrambling out of the water through the reeds. awaiting their fate. and came PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. and. The Shepperton guns spoke this time unavailingly. and two were stooping over the frothing. faint and pallid in the steam.
Had my foot stumbled. crawled PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. every row of suburban villas on the hilly slopes about Kingston and Richmond. But they were in no hurry. and in their haste. I staggered through the leaping. Cylinder followed cylinder on its interplanetary flight. I screamed aloud. receding interminably. before twilight. through charred and ruined villages among the green trees. in full sight of the Martians.down to the water's edge not fifty yards from where I stood. whirling it this way and that and lifting again. I have a dim memory of the foot of a Martian coming down within a score of yards of my head. dreadful.com . very slowly. and then of the four carrying the debris of their comrade between them. bare gravelly spit that runs down to mark the angle of the Wey and Thames. through the blackened and smoking arcades that had been but a day ago pine spinneys. and they would certainly have reached the capital in advance of the tidings of their approach. now fully alive to the tremendous power of their antagonists. masked an expectant black muzzle. In another moment the huge wave.fineprint. upon the broad. and encumbered with the de'bris of their smashed companion. and scalded. well-nigh at the boilingpoint had rushed upon me. I turned shoreward. agonised. I expected nothing but death. And meanwhile the military and naval authorities. as it seemed to me. it would have been the end. I realised that by a miracle I had escaped. driving straight into the loose gravel. and the water in its track rose in a boiling weal crested with steam. the Martians retreated to their original position upon Horsell Common. Had they left their comrade and pushed on forthwith. of a long suspense. across a vast space of river and meadow. CHAPTER THIRTEEN HOW I FELL IN WITH THE CURATE After getting this sudden lesson in the power of terrestrial weapons. And then. I fell helplessly. every twenty-four hours brought them reinforcement. they no doubt overlooked many such a stray and negligible victim as myself. half blinded. now clear and then presently faint through a veil of smoke. hissing water towards the shore. every copse. there was nothing at that time between them and London but batteries of twelve-pounder guns. worked with furious energy. Every minute a fresh gun came into position until. and destructive their advent would have been as the earthquake that destroyed Lisbon a century ago. It swept across the river to Shepperton. And through the charred and desolated area--perhaps twenty square miles altogether--that encircled the Martian encampment on Horsell Common. as sudden.
quite desolate under the hot blue sky. gained it. going very tediously and continually looking behind me. Then my fears got the better of me again. The sun scorched my bare back. and several of the houses facing the river were on fire. I saw an abandoned boat. from Banstead and Epsom Downs.fineprint. and even. because I considered that the water gave me my best chance of escape should these giants return. walked perhaps half a mile without meeting a soul. I seem to remember talking. amid the long grass. It was strange to see the place quite tranquil. It would seem that these giants spent the earlier part of the afternoon in going to and fro. my fever and faintness overcame my fears. And while the Martians behind me were thus preparing for their next sally. while the rest abandoned their vast fighting-machines and descended into the pit. very small and remote. Halliford. deadly sick. For a long time I drifted. and in front of me Humanity gathered for the battle. A little farther on the dry reeds up the bank were smoking and glowing. down the river towards Halliford and Walton. Never before had I seen houses burning without the accompaniment of an obstructive crowd. and so escaped out of that destruction. I made my way with infinite pains and labour from the fire and smoke of burning Weybridge towards London. and I resumed my paddling. to myself PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. however. drifting down-stream. and the towering pillar of dense green smoke that rose therefrom could be seen from the hills about Merrow. Over that. and not a man ventured within a mile of either cylinder. save at the price of his life. above the blackened heather and ruined buildings that stretched far and wide. transferring everything from the second and third cylinders--the second in Addlestone Golf Links and the third at Pyrford--to their original pit on Horsell Common. it seemed. was deserted. as well as my parboiled hands would allow. I made out a string of black figures hurrying across the meadows from the direction of Weybridge. it is said. and I landed on the Middlesex bank and lay down. with the smoke and little threads of flame going straight up into the heat of the afternoon. and throwing off the most of my sodden clothes. I suppose the time was then about four or five o'clock. I followed the river. They were hard at work there far into the night. There were no oars in the boat. The hot water from the Martian's overthrow drifted downstream with me. and a line of fire inland was marching steadily across a late field of hay. At last. I went after it. so painful and weary was I after the violence I had been through. but I contrived to paddle.the devoted scouts with the heliographs that were presently to warn the gunners of the Martian approach.com . so that for the best part of a mile I could see little of either bank. and then lay down again in the shadow of a hedge. wanderingly. and so intense the heat upon the water. stood one as sentinel. Once. I got up presently. But the Martians now understood our command of artillery and the danger of human proximity. as you may well understand. as the bridge at Walton was coming into sight round the bend.
and his hair lay in crisp. and with his upturned. save for my water-soaked trousers and socks. naked. He gripped his knees and turned to look at me again. earthquake. and blankly staring. I do not clearly remember the arrival of the curate. I dare say he found me a strange enough figure.What have we PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. scalded. just tinted with the midsummer sunset. cleanshaven face staring at a faint flickering that danced over the sky. his chin retreated. I sat up. taking stock of each other.fineprint. pale blue. his eyes were rather large. I cannot account for it. "Why are these things permitted? What sins have we done? The morning service was over. I became aware of him as a seated figure in soot-smudged shirt sleeves. but my impotent desire to reach Leatherhead worried me excessively. so that probably I dozed. almost flaxen curls on his low forehead. The sky was what is called a mackerel sky--rows and rows of faint down-plumes of cloud. earthquake. His face was a fair weakness. "Have you any water?" I asked abruptly. looking vacantly away from me. It is a curious thing that I felt angry with my wife. he stared silently. and then--fire. I was also very thirsty." he said. and my face and shoulders blackened by the smoke. clearing my throat. For a moment we were silent. perhaps. death!" He relapsed into silence. with his chin now sunken almost to his knees.What are these Martians?" "What are we?" I answered.during that last spurt. and at the rustle of my motion he looked at me quickly. death! As if it were Sodom and Gomorrah! All our work undone. For "I was walking through the roads to clear my brain. "And suddenly--fire. mean?" "What do these things I stared at him and made no answer. I was walking through the roads to clear my brain for the afternoon. all the work---. Presently he began waving his hand. and bitterly regretful I had drunk no more water. "What does it mean?" he said. He shook his head. "You have been asking for water for the last hour. He extended a thin white hand and spoke in almost a complaining tone." he said.com . "All the work--all the Sunday schools---. He spoke abruptly. half a minute.
laid my hand on his shoulder. invulnerable. "But how can we escape?" he asked. quietly. in a matter-of-fact tone. they are pitiless. Plentiful hope--for all this destruction!" "You must keep I began to explain my view of our position. have done before to men! Did you think God had exempted Weybridge? He is not an insurance agent. wars and volcanoes. "Be a man!" said I. but as I went on the interest dawning in his eyes gave place to their former stare. struggled to my feet." For a time he sat in blank silence. The tremendous tragedy in which he had been involved--it was evident he was a fugitive from Weybridge--had driven him to the very verge of his reason. and he broke out again like one demented. I ceased my laboured reasoning. "You are scared out of your wits! What good is religion if it collapses under calamity? Think of what earthquakes and floods. your head. perhaps. "The end! The great and terrible day of the Lord! When men shall call upon the mountains and the rocks to fall upon them and hide them--hide them from the face of Him that sitteth upon the throne!" I began to understand the position. By this time I was beginning to take his measure. "Are we far from Sunbury?" I said." "They are "Neither the one nor. There is still hope. "What are we to do?" he asked. and he pointed a lean finger in the direction of Weybridge." I answered. and. standing over him. "The smoke of her burning goeth up for ever and ever!" he shouted. "This must be the beginning of the end. The church! We rebuilt it only three years ago." he said.fineprint. Gone! Swept out of existence! Why?" Another pause. PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. suddenly. interrupting me.com . the other. "Are these creatures everywhere? Has the earth been given over to them?" "Are we far from Sunbury?" "Only this morning I officiated at early celebration----" "Things have changed. and his regard wandered from me." "Hope!" "Yes.done--what has Weybridge done? Everything gone--everything destroyed. He listened at first. His eyes flamed." I said.
He was a medical student working for an imminent examination."And the mightier they are the more sane and wary should we be." And even as I spoke he sprang to his feet and stopped me by a gesture. "We are in the midst of it." I proceeded to tell him. isters be killed?" "How can God's min- "I saw it happen." said I. all the more striking for its brevity. in addition to lengthy special articles on the planet Mars. High in the west the crescent moon hung faint and pale above the smoke of Weybridge and Shepperton and the hot." I said. the Martians have not moved from the pit into which they have fallen. and so forth. "Listen!" he said. The Martians. From beyond the low hills across the water came the dull resonance of distant guns and a remote weird crying." CHAPTER FOURTEEN IN LONDON My younger brother was in London when the Martians fell at Woking. I told him it was the heliograph signalling--that it was the sign of human help and effort in the sky. One of them was killed yonder not three hours ago. earthworks are being thrown up and guns are being placed. seem incapable of doing so. staring about him." I said." "What is that flicker in the sky?" he asked abruptly. and. where those hills rise about Richmond and Kingston and the trees give cover. Presently the Martians will be coming this way again. alarmed by the approach of a crowd. on life in the planets.com . and he heard nothing of the arrival until Saturday morning. and Londonward. A cockchafer came droning over the hedge and past us." "Killed!" he said. Probably this is due to the relative strength PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. That flicker in the sky tells of the gathering storm. "northward. so the story ran. Then everything was still. "We have chanced to come in for the thick of it. "We had better follow this path. had killed a number of people with a quick-firing gun. still splendour of the sunset. Yonder.fineprint. I take it are the Martians. a brief and vaguely worded telegram. The morning papers on Saturday contained. The telegram concluded with the words: "Formidable as they seem to be. indeed. "quiet as it is. "and that is all.
in another account of these events. failing to realise that anything further than a breakdown between Byfleet and Woking junction had occurred. My brother felt no anxiety about us. to see the Things before they were killed. They were busy making the necessary arrangements to alter the route of the Southampton and Portsmouth Sunday League excursions. Few people. mistaking my brother for the traffic manager. after some waiting. The afternoon papers puffed scraps of news under big headlines. The majority of people in London do not read Sunday papers. were running the theatre trains which usually passed through Woking round by Virginia Water or Guildford. excepting the railway officials. to which my brother went that day. but there were no signs of any unusual excitement in the streets. in an extra-special edition. In London. There was very little excitement in the station. Plenty of Londoners did not hear of the Martians until the panic of Monday morning. on Saturday night there was a thunderstorm. in order. He made up his mind to run down that night to me. Of course all the students in the crammer's biology class. A nocturnal newspaper reporter.of the earth's gravitational energy. is so deeply fixed in the Londoner's mind. On the platform from which the midnight train usually starts he learned. This was thought to be due to the falling of burning pine trees across the line. I have read." On that last text their leader-writer expanded very comfortingly. announced the bare fact of the interruption of telegraphic communication. The nature of the accident he could not ascertain. indeed. about four o'clock.fineprint. moreover. as the officials. He despatched a telegram. and startling intelligence so much a matter of course in the papers. JAMES'S GAZETTE. They had nothing to tell beyond the movements of troops about the common. the night of my drive to Leatherhead and back. Those who did took some time to realise all that the hastily worded telegrams in the Sunday papers conveyed. as he says. have completely wrecked Woking station with the adjacent houses. there was nothing to justify that very extravagant phrase. and my brother reached Waterloo in a cab. connected the breakdown with the Martians. that they could read without any personal tremors: "About seven o'clock last night the Martians came out of the cylinder. waylaid and tried to interview him. as he knew from the description in the papers that the cylinder was a good two miles from my house. the railway authorities did not clearly know at that time." As a matter of fact. and massacred an PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. and spent the evening at a music hall. were intensely interested. Then the ST. Nothing more of the fighting was known that night. moving about under an armour of metallic shields. and.com . that on Sunday morning "all London was electrified by the news from Woking. The habit of personal security. that an accident prevented trains from reaching Woking that night. and the burning of the pine woods between Woking and Weybridge. until eight. to whom he bears a slight resemblance. also. which never reached me.
when the authorities gave the press agencies the news in their possession. None of the telegrams could have been written by an eyewitness of their advance. and earthworks are being thrown up to check the advance Londonward. The Sunday papers printed separate editions as further news came to hand. alarmed only on account of the local residents." he said. and a special prayer for peace. Maxims have been absolutely useless against their armour. Great anxiety prevails in West Surrey. Coming out. It was stated that the people of Walton and Weybridge. The omnibuses.fineprint. and a clever and remarkably prompt "handbook" article in the REFEREE compared the affair to a menagerie suddenly let loose in a village." he said. he bought a REFEREE. No one in London knew positively of the nature of the armoured Martians. The Martians appear to be moving slowly towards Chertsey or Windsor. and they say there's been guns heard at Chertsey. and there was still a fixed idea that these monsters must be sluggish: "crawling. "They come from Molesey and Weybridge and Walton. and went again to Waterloo station to find out if communication were restored. "There's fighting going on about Weybridge" was the extent of their information. or. heavy PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. One grey-headed old gentleman came and abused the South-Western Company bitterly to my brother. At the station he heard for the first time that the Windsor and Chertsey lines were now interrupted. The train service was now very much disorganised." "creeping painfully" --such expressions occurred in almost all the earlier reports. and that was all. containing people who had gone out for a day's boating and found the locks closed and a feeling of panic in the air. and all the district were pouring along the roads Londonward. carriages.entire battalion of the Cardigan Regiment. but that these had abruptly ceased. My brother could get very little precise detail out of them. Flying hussars have been galloping into Chertsey. But there was practically nothing more to tell people until late in the afternoon. Putney. full of strange tidings. One or two trains came in from Richmond. "There's hosts of people driving into Kingston in traps and carts and things. still in ignorance of what had happened on the previous night. and innumerable people walking in their best clothes seemed scarcely affected by the strange intelligence that the news venders were disseminating. if alarmed. some even in default of it. People were interested. He became alarmed at the news in this. My brother went to church at the Foundling Hospital in the morning. No details are known. There he heard allusions made to the invasion. cyclists. The porters told him that several remarkable telegrams had been received in the morning from Byfleet and Chertsey stations. Quite a number of people who had been expecting friends from places on the South-Western network were standing about the station." That was how the Sunday SUN put it. with boxes of valuables and all that. A man in a blue and white blazer addressed my brother. the field guns have been disabled by them.com . and Kingston. "It wants showing up.
nearly a hundred feet high. between the SouthEastern and the South-Western stations. Richmond Park. a reservist he said he was. There was talk of a floating body. These were the guns that were brought up from Woolwich and Chatham to cover Kingston. capable of the speed of an express train. and able to shoot out a beam of intense heat. Kew. had been planted in the country about Horsell Common. One of the men there." Masked batteries. can they?" My brother could not tell him. but not a soul had anything more than vague hearsay to tell of. "Fight ing at Weybridge! Full description! Repulse of the Martians! London in Danger!" He had to give threepence for a copy of that paper. and that the Sunday excursionists began to return from all over the South-Western "lung"--Barnes. Then it was. The sun was just setting. but we thought it was thunder. and so forth--at unnaturally early hours. In Wellington Street my brother met a couple of sturdy roughs who had just been rushed out of Fleet Street with stillwet newspapers and staring placards. There was an exchange of pleasantries: "You'll get eaten!" "We're the beast-tamers!" and so forth. Everyone connected with the terminus seemed ill-tempered. told my brother he had seen the heliograph flickering in the west. What the dickens does it all mean? The Martians can't get out of their pit. The church bells were ringing for evensong. which is almost invariably closed. They were described as "vast spiderlike machines. and my brother went out into the street again.firing. Wimbledon. and a squad of Salvation Army lassies came singing down Waterloo Road. and that mounted soldiers have told them to get off at once because the Martians are coming. About five o'clock the gathering crowd in the station was immensely excited by the opening of the line of communication.fineprint. barred with long transverse stripes of reddish-purple cloud. chiefly of field guns. We heard guns firing at Hampton Court station. a sky of gold. Afterwards he found that the vague feeling of alarm had spread to the clients of the underground railway. Five of the machines had been seen PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. that he realised something of the full power and terror of these monsters. "Dreadful catastrophe!" they bawled one to the other down Wellington Street. He learned that they were not merely a handful of small sluggish creatures. and the passage of carriage trucks bearing huge guns and carriages crammed with soldiers. and especially between the Woking district and London. A little while after that a squad of police came into the station and began to clear the public off the platforms. On the bridge a number of loafers were watching a curious brown scum that came drifting down the stream in patches. and that they could move swiftly and smite with such power that even the mightiest guns could not stand against them. but that they were minds swaying vast mechanical bodies.com . and then only. and the Clock Tower and the Houses of Parliament rose against one of the most peaceful skies it is possible to imagine.
He was driving from the direction of Westminster Bridge. this quasi-proclamation closed. and the Strand was suddenly noisy with the voices of an army of hawkers following these pioneers. among others. my brother said. Certainly this news excited people intensely. In the other cases the shells had missed. and close behind him came a hay waggon with five or six respectable-looking people in it. It was curious. This was printed in enormous type on paper so fresh that it was still wet. No doubt the Martians were strange and terrible in the extreme. The Martians had been repulsed. but at the outside there could not be more than twenty of them against our millions. Men came scrambling off buses to secure copies. ran the report. in the circle about Woking.moving towards the Thames. Going on along the Strand to Trafalgar Square. could be destroyed at once by high explosives. The public would be fairly warned of the approach of danger. that at the outside there could not be more than five in each cylinder--fifteen altogether. they were not invulnerable. Never before in England had there been such a vast or rapid concentration of military material.fineprint. by a happy chance. and the batteries had been at once annihilated by the HeatRays. whatever their previous apathy. Aldershot. and a man in his Sunday raiment. PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. chiefly covering London. long wire-guns of ninetyfive tons from Woolwich. Heavy losses of soldiers were mentioned. it was hoped. the situation was of the strangest and gravest description. They had retreated to their triangle of cylinders again. which were being rapidly manufactured and distributed. but the public was exhorted to avoid and discourage panic. Guns were in rapid transit from Windsor. The authorities had reason to suppose. my brother saw some of the fugitives from West Surrey. and one. was visible inside the window hastily fastening maps of Surrey to the glass. and elaborate measures were being taken for the protection of the people in the threatened southwestern suburbs. All down Wellington Street people could be seen fluttering out the pink sheets and reading. lemon-yellow gloves even. And one at least was disposed of--perhaps more. Signallers with heliographs were pushing forward upon them from all sides. the paper in his hand. but the tone of the despatch was optimistic. from the size of the cylinders. with reiterated assurances of the safety of London and the ability of the authorities to cope with the difficulty. had been destroyed. Any further cylinders that fell. Portsmouth. The shutters of a map shop in the Strand were being taken down. And so. Woolwich-even from the north. No doubt. Altogether one hundred and sixteen were in position or being hastily placed. my brother said. and some boxes and bundles. to see how ruthlessly the usual contents of the paper had been hacked and taken out to give this place. and there had been no time to add a word of comment. There was a man with his wife and two boys and some articles of furniture in a cart such as greengrocers use.com .
striding along like men. and ran from door to door warning us to come away. None of them could tell him any news of Woking except one man. His mind was inclined to run. There were one or two cartloads of refugees passing along Oxford Street.The faces of these people were haggard. My brother turned down towards Victoria. "Boilers on stilts. "I come from Byfleet. Some way behind these came a man in workday clothes. and there were clouds of smoke to the south-nothing but smoke. Then we heard the guns at Chertsey. Beyond Victoria the public-houses were doing a lively trade with these arrivals. They seemed to increase as night drew on. I tell you.fineprint. talking excitedly. We went out to look. He had a vague idea that he might see something of me. and finally turned eastward along the Strand. but by striking through the quiet back streets to the river he was able to distinguish it quite plainly. One was professing to have seen the Martians. He thought of all those silent.com . but so slowly was the news spreading that Regent Street and Port- PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. He was dirty and white in the face. my brother said. or staring at these unusual Sunday visitors. My brother could not hear it for the traffic in the main thoroughfares. At all the street corners groups of people were reading papers. Some of the refugees were exchanging news with the people on the omnibuses. About eight o'clock a noise of heavy firing was distinctly audible all over the south of London. and several in the Marylebone Road. expectant guns. People in fashionable clothing peeped at them out of cabs. on military details. and met a number of such people. and not a soul coming that way. So I've locked up my house and come on. who assured him that Woking had been entirely destroyed on the previous night. even as mine had run on Saturday. and folks coming from Weybridge. My brother addressed several of these fugitives and got unsatisfactory answers from most. and disturbed at the evident magnitude of the trouble. he tried to imagine "boilers on stilts" a hundred feet high." At the time there was a strong feeling in the streets that the authorities were to blame for their incapacity to dispose of the invaders without all this inconvenience. He noticed an unusual number of police regulating the traffic." Most of them were excited and animated by their strange experience. about two. He walked from Westminster to his apartments near Regent's Park. of the suddenly nomadic countryside." he said. until at last the roads. were like Epsom High Street on a Derby Day. They stopped at the Square as if undecided which way to take. riding one of those oldfashioned tricycles with a small front wheel. and their entire appearance contrasted conspicuously with the Sabbath-best appearance of the people on the omnibuses. Then came soldiers. He was now very anxious on my account. "man on a bicycle came through the place in the early morning.
com . and slippers. instead of coming down the gradient into Euston. Then he jumped out of bed and ran to the window. "the Martians are coming!" and hurried to the next door. albeit they talked in groups. He went to bed a little after midnight. hammering at the door. and standing in groups at the talking. Then the door behind him opened. People were comof the side streets. up and down the street there were a dozen echoes to the noise of his window sash. and heads in every kind of night disarray appeared. His room was an attic and as he thrust his head out. his braces loose about his waist. "What the devil is it?" he asked. and along the edge of Regent's Park there were as many silent couples "walking out" together under the scattered gas lamps as ever there had been. his hair disordered from his pillow. row!" They to hear ing out corners "A fire? What a devil of a both craned their heads out of the window. and after supper prowled out again aimlessly. The night was warm and still. bursting abruptly into noise at the corner. wondering whether day had come or the world gone mad. For a moment he lay astonished. "What the devil is it all about?" said my brother's fellow lodger. There was a noise of doors opening. watching the policemen hammering at door after door. the forerunners of a long procession of flying vehicles.land Place were full of their usual Sunday-night promenaders. and after midnight there seemed to be sheet lightning in the south. and dying away slowly in the distance. and a clamour of bells. Enquiries were being shouted. fearing the worst had happened to me. PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. and window after window in the houses opposite flashed from darkness into yellow illumination. He was restless. and was awakened from lurid dreams in the small hours of Monday by the sound of door knockers. rising to a clattering climax under the window. Up the street came galloping a closed carriage. and every church within earshot was hard at work killing sleep with a vehement disorderly tocsin. The sound of drumming and trumpeting came from the Albany Street Barracks. feet running in the street. He returned and tried in vain to divert his attention to his examination notes. where the North-Western special trains were loading up. dressed only in shirt. trousers. Red reflections danced on the ceiling. straining what the policemen were shouting. distant drumming. going for the most part to Chalk Farm station. "They are coming!" bawled a policeman.fineprint. and a little oppressive. and delivering their incomprehensible message. For a long time my brother stared out of the window in blank astonishment. Close on the rear of this came a couple of cabs. and the man who lodged across the landing came in. the sound of guns continued intermittently. He read and re-read the paper.
and the Westbourne Park district and St. destroyed Richmond." That was all. and. and behind in the Park Terraces and in the hundred other streets of that part of Marylebone. The man was running away with the rest. through all the vastness of London from Ealing to East Ham--people were rubbing their eyes. running. indeed. and some of the passing cabs flaunted unextinguished lamps. "Black Smoke!" the voices cried. and again "Black Smoke!" The contagion of such a unanimous fear was inevitable. and westward and northward in Kilburn and St. The flying people on foot and in vehicles grew more numerous every moment. slipping. my brother went down and out into the street. Sickly yellow lights went to and fro in the houses. and got a paper forthwith. The whole population of the great six-million city was stirring. As my brother hesitated on the door-step. Kingston. a cart carelessly driven smashed. amid shrieks and curses. And from this paper my brother read that catastrophic despatch of the Commander-in-Chief: "The Martians are able to discharge enormous clouds of a black and poisonous vapour by means of rockets. They have smothered our batteries.fineprint. destroying everything on the way. and are advancing slowly towards London. running with each garment to the window in order to miss nothing of the growing excitement. Pancras. London. Unable from his window to learn what was happening. dressing hastily as the first breath of the coming storm of Fear blew through the streets. to a vivid sense of danger. against the water trough up the street. just as the sky between the parapets of the houses grew pink with the early dawn. presently it would be pouring EN MASSE northward. John's Wood and Hampstead. he saw another news vender approaching. and selling his papers for a shilling each as he ran--a grotesque mingling of profit and panic.My brother answered him vaguely and began to dress. and PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. "Black Smoke!" he heard people crying. "Fire!" The bells of the neighbouring church made a jangling tumult. was awakened. in the houses on each side and across the road. and opening windows to stare out and ask aimless questions. which had gone to bed on Sunday night oblivious and inert. and eastward in Shoreditch and Highbury and Haggerston and Hoxton. in the small hours of Monday morning. and Wimbledon. And overhead the dawn was growing brighter.com . There is no safety from the Black Smoke but in instant flight. It is impossible to stop them. clear and steady and calm. And presently men selling unnaturally early newspapers came bawling into the street: "London in danger of suffocation! The Kingston and Richmond defences forced! Fearful massacres in the Thames Valley!" And all about him--in the rooms below. but it was enough. He heard footsteps running to and fro in the rooms. It was the dawn of the great panic.
answering him. These Martians did not advance in a body. George's Hill that we had heard at Upper Halliford.com . It was this howling and firing of the guns at Ripley and St. and he was seen to advance a few paces.fineprint. made their way through Byfleet and Pyrford towards Ripley and Weybridge. Hidden by a pine wood as they were. the majority of them remained busied with preparations in the Horsell pit until nine that night. and so came in sight of the expectant batteries against the setting sun. which he destroyed. So far as one can ascertain from the conflicting accounts that have been put forth. but in a line. while the Martian. ineffectual volley. As my brother began to realise the import of all these things. passed in front of them. premature. each perhaps a mile and a half from his nearest fellow. stagger. CHAPTER FIFTEEN WHAT HAD HAPPENED IN SURREY It was while the curate had sat and talked so wildly to me under the hedge in the flat meadows near Halliford. walked serenely over their guns. fired one wild. and the guns were reloaded in frantic haste.up and down stairs behind him. hurrying on some operation that disengaged huge volumes of green smoke. George's Hill men. and go down. stepped gingerly among them. running up and down the scale from one note to another. and fired at about a thousand yards' range. The St. without using his Heat-Ray. Everybody yelled together. They laid their guns as deliberately as if they had been on parade. But three certainly came out about eight o'clock and. and while my brother was watching the fugitives stream over Westminster Bridge. they seem to have been quite unsuspected by the Martian nearest to them. The overthrown Martian set up a prolonged ululation. put all his available money--some ten pounds altogether--into his pockets. and went out again into the streets. appeared PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. They communicated with one another by means of sirenlike howls. were better led or of a better mettle. her husband followed ejaculating. he turned hastily to his own room. however. advancing slowly and cautiously. and bolted on horse and foot through the deserted village. unseasoned artillery volunteers who ought never to have been placed in such a position. The shells flashed all round him. and so came unexpectedly upon the guns in Painshill Park. loosely wrapped in dressing gown and shawl. that the Martians had resumed the offensive. and immediately a second glittering giant. His landlady came to the door. The Ripley gunners.
George's Hill and the woods of Painshill. black against the western sky. as it seemed to us. the nearer to us standing and facing Sunbury. and apparently engaged in the repair of his support. To us and to an observer about Ripley it would have had precisely the same effect--the Martians seemed in solitary possession of the darkling night. It was a few minutes past nine that night when these three sentinels were joined by four other Martians. George's Hill. both his companions brought their HeatRays to bear on the battery. for a milky mist covered the fields and rose to a third of their height. wherever a cluster of trees or village houses gave sufficient PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. upon a cloud. a small brown figure. At this sight the curate cried faintly in his throat. The whole of the second volley flew wide of the Martian on the ground. A similar tube was handed to each of the three. and two of them. Ditton. It would seem that a leg of the tripod had been smashed by one of the shells. but I knew it was no good running from a Martian. and the ruddy glare from St. the pine trees all about the guns flashed into fire. the remoter being a grey indistinctness towards the evening star. It was a crescent with twelve miles between its horns. and warned the waiting batteries about Ditton and Esher. crossed the river. The occasional howling of the Martians had ceased. Esher. He looked back. simultaneously. But facing that crescent everywhere--at Staines. and the village of Send. southwest of Ripley. and the seven proceeded to distribute themselves at equal distances along a curved line between St. each carrying a thick black tube. and the scouts who were watching them report that they remained absolutely stationary for the next half hour. and only one or two of the men who were already running over the crest of the hill escaped. lit only as it was by the slender moon. similarly armed with tubes.over the trees to the south. The two halted. At the same time four of their fighting machines. They moved. A dozen rockets sprang out of the hills before them so soon as they began to move. and. and began running. away towards Staines. Never since the devising of gunpowder was the beginning of a battle so still. About nine he had finished. and across the flat grass meadows to the north of it. The ammunition blew up. and I turned aside and crawled through dewy nettles and brambles into the broad ditch by the side of the road. oddly suggestive from that distance of a speck of blight. Weybridge. they took up their positions in the huge crescent about their cylinders in absolute silence. came into sight of myself and the curate as we hurried wearily and painfully along the road that runs northward out of Halliford. the stars. After this it would seem that the three took counsel together and halted. the afterglow of the daylight. and turned to join me. Hounslow. The Martian who had been overthrown crawled tediously out of his hood. saw what I was doing. behind hills and woods south of the river. Ockham.com .fineprint. for his cowl was then seen above the trees again.
The Martians had but to advance into the line of fire. would explode into a thunderous fury of battle. Towards PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. Every moment I expected the fire of some hidden battery to spring upon him. after an interminable time. but the evening calm was unbroken. Another nearer. or some such evidence of its work. the minute lengthened to three. gunwise. and a big projectile hurtled overhead towards Hounslow. The one towards Staines answered him. The signal rockets burst and rained their sparks through the night and vanished. even as it was uppermost in mine. with one solitary star. I expected at least to see smoke or fire.) A hundred such questions struggled together in my mind as I watched that vast sentinel shape. simply that loaded detonation. And in the back of my mind was the sense of all the huge unknown and hidden forces Londonward. No doubt the thought that was uppermost in a thousand of those vigilant minds. And there had been no crash. But all I saw was the deep blue sky above. came a sound like the distant concussion of a gun. as it seemed to us.cover--the guns were waiting. and the white mist spreading wide and low beneath. was the riddle--how much they understood of us. A distant tumult of shouting began and ceased. and saw he was now moving eastward along the riverbank. and instantly those motionless black forms of men. Had they prepared pitfalls? Were the powder mills at Hounslow ready as a snare? Would the Londoners have the heart and courage to make a greater Moscow of their mighty province of houses? Then. There was no flash. I looked again at the Martian. working together? Or did they interpret our spurts of fire. By a common impulse we clambered higher. our steady investment of their encampment. and presently the mist and the gathering night had swallowed him up. disciplined.fineprint. A bat flickered by and vanished. with a swift. crouching and peering through the hedge. with a heavy report that made the ground heave. as we should the furious unanimity of onslaught in a disturbed hive of bees? Did they dream they might exterminate us? (At that time no one knew what food they needed. those guns glittering so darkly in the early night. "Heaven knows!" said I. As I did so a second report followed. And then the Martian beside us raised his tube on high and discharged it. and the spirit of all those watching batteries rose to a tense expectation. Did they grasp that we in our millions were organized. "What has happened?" said the curate. standing up beside me. rolling motion. the sudden stinging of our shells. and then another. I was so excited by these heavy minute-guns following one another that I so far forgot my personal safety and my scalded hands as to clamber up into the hedge and stare towards Sunbury. no smoke.com . The silence was restored. no answering explosion. The figure of the Martian grew smaller as he receded.
or other possible cover for guns. The vapour did not diffuse as a true gas would do. the one at Ripley is said to have discharged no fewer than five at that time. so that. was death to all that breathes. It hung together in banks. after the first tumultuous uprush and outflow of its impact.com . The scum was absolutely insoluble. These canisters smashed on striking the ground--they did not explode--and incontinently disengaged an enormous volume of heavy. as was proved even that night at Street Cobham and Ditton. flowing sluggishly down the slope of the land and driving reluctantly before the wind. but later I was to learn the meaning of these ominous kopjes that gathered in the twilight. heavier than the densest smoke. Moved by a sudden thought. But the earthly artillery made no reply. These hill-like forms grew lower and broader even as we stared. we are still entirely ignorant of the nature of this substance.Sunbury was a dark appearance. we heard the Martians hooting to one another. the inhaling of its pungent wisps. on the roofs and upper stories of high houses and on great trees. standing in the great crescent I have described. as though a conical hill had suddenly come into being there. that fifty feet up in the air. Save that an unknown element giving a group of four lines in the blue of the spectrum is concerned. that one could drink without hurt the water from which it had been strained. this vapour. had discharged. And the touch of that vapour. hiding our view of the farther country. And where it came upon water some chemical action occurred. cluster of houses. coiling and pouring upward in a huge and ebony cumulus cloud. Some fired only one of these. and there I perceived a third of these cloudy black kopjes had risen. and the surface would be instantly covered with a powdery scum that sank slowly and made way for more. PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. copse. marking the quiet. Each of the Martians. I looked northward. some two--as in the case of the one we had seen. and it is a strange thing. and then. seeing the instant effect of the gas. inky vapour. and streaming into the valleys and ditches and watercourses even as I have heard the carbonic-acid gas that pours from volcanic clefts is wont to do. Once the tumultuous upheaval of its dispersion was over. Everything had suddenly become very still. Far away to the southeast. and then the air quivered again with the distant thud of their guns. a huge canister over whatever hill. the black smoke clung so closely to the ground. a gaseous hill that sank and spread itself slowly over the surrounding country. remoter across the river. chanced to be in front of him. over Walton. there was a chance of escaping its poison altogether. and sank to the earth in the form of dust. abandoning the hills. even before its precipitation. we saw another such summit. and very slowly it combined with the mist and moisture of the air. by means of the gunlike tube he carried.fineprint. Now at the time we could not understand these things. it sank down through the air and poured over the ground in a manner rather liquid than gaseous. It was heavy.
whither we had returned. setting about it as methodically as men might smoke out a wasps' nest. But that was at Street Cobham. They were sparing of the Heat-Ray that night. sending chance shots at the invisible Martians at Hampton and Ditton. and how he looked down from the church spire and saw the houses of the village rising like ghosts out of its inky nothingness. with red roofs. in Bushey Park. In the latter aim they certainly succeeded. I believe. rising here and there into the sunlight. and where the guns were openly displayed the Heat-Ray was brought to bear. Sunday night was the end of the organised opposition to their PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. starving and sun-scorched. and. as we saw in the starlight from the window of a deserted house at Upper Halliford. blotting out the whole valley of the Thames and extending as far as the eye could reach. So. The horns of the crescent slowly moved apart. and about eleven the windows rattled. and we heard the sound of the huge siege guns that had been put in position there. All night through their destructive tubes advanced. These continued intermittently for the space of a quarter of an hour. Never once. either because they had but a limited supply of material for its production or because they did not wish to destroy the country but only to crush and overawe the opposition they had aroused. until at last they formed a line from Hanwell to Coombe and Malden. and turned their hissing steam jets this way and that. Then the fourth cylinder fell--a brilliant green meteor--as I learned afterwards. the Martians spread this strange stifling vapour over the Londonward country. For a day and a half he remained there. the earth under the blue sky and against the prospect of the distant hills a velvet-black expanse. black-veiled shrubs and gates. did they give the artillery the ghost of a chance against them. after the Martian at St. cleared the air of it again by wading into it and directing a jet of steam upon it. there was a fitful cannonade far away in the southwest. This they did with the vapour banks near us. and walls. later. Wherever there was a possibility of guns being laid for them unseen. By midnight the blazing trees along the slopes of Richmond Park and the glare of Kingston Hill threw their light upon a network of black smoke.com . barns. where the black vapour was allowed to remain until it sank of its own accord into the ground. And through this two Martians slowly waded. and then the pale beams of the electric light vanished. As a rule the Martians. when it had served its purpose. and were replaced by a bright red glow. Before the guns on the Richmond and Kingston line of hills began. From there we could see the searchlights on Richmond Hill and Kingston Hill going to and fro. to guns being fired haphazard before the black vapour could overwhelm the gunners. weary.The man who escaped at the former place tells a wonderful story of the strangeness of its coiling flow. outhouses. a fresh canister of the black vapour was discharged.fineprint. green trees. George's Hill was brought down. due.
People were fighting savagely for standing-room in the carriages even at PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. Before dawn the black vapour was pouring through the streets of Richmond. waiting so tensely in the twilight. By ten o'clock the police organisation. a strange and horrible antagonist of vapour striding upon its victims.fineprint. the swiftly spreading coils and bellyings of that blackness advancing headlong. One may picture. mutinied. and by midday even the railway organisations. the fate of those batteries towards Esher. the guns suddenly abandoned. shrieking. the ammunition piled to hand. and the swift broadening-out of the opaque cone of smoke. shouts of dismay. losing shape and efficiency. so hopeless was the enterprise. Even the crews of the torpedo-boats and destroyers that had brought their quickfirers up the Thames refused to stop. were losing coherency. and went down again. rousing the population of London to the necessity of flight. softening. towering heavenward. the groups of civilian spectators standing as near as they were permitted. the evening stillness. with a last expiring effort. men choking and writhing on the ground. the sudden shifting of the attention. After that no body of men would stand against them. lashing in a foaming tumult round the railway stations. banked up into a horrible struggle about the shipping in the Thames. the limber gunners with their horses and waggons. falling headlong. then the dull resonance of the shots the Martians fired. turning the twilight to a palpable darkness. and even in that their energies were frantic and spasmodic. men and horses near it seen dimly. running.com .movements. the ambulances and hospital tents with the burned and wounded from Weybridge. as well as one may. running at last in that swift liquefaction of the social body. too. and hurrying by every available channel northward and eastward. The only offensive operation men ventured upon after that night was the preparation of mines and pitfalls. and trains were being filled. And then night and extinction-nothing but a silent mass of impenetrable vapour hiding its dead. and the disintegrating organism of government was. One has to imagine. the officers alert and watchful. and the clumsy projectile whirling over the trees and houses and smashing amid the neighbouring fields. All the railway lines north of the Thames and the SouthEastern people at Cannon Street had been warned by midnight on Sunday. the gunners ready. guttering. Survivors there were none. One may picture the orderly expectation. CHAPTER SIXTEEN THE EXODUS FROM LONDON So you understand the roaring wave of fear that swept through the greatest city in the world just as Monday was dawning--the stream of flight rising swiftly to a torrent.
people were being trampled and crushed even in Bishopsgate Street. dodged across through a hurrying swarm of vehicles. but well ahead of the crowd.com . and my brother struck into Belsize Road. There were shops half opened in the main street of the place. where some friends of his lived. fasting and wearied. There was no fresh news of the invaders from Mars. and the policemen who had been sent to direct the traffic. He was passed by a number of cyclists. and had the luck to be foremost in the sack of a cycle shop. Another bank drove over Ealing. So he got out of the fury of the panic. reached Edgware about seven. He succeeded in getting some food at an inn. were breaking the heads of the people they were called out to protect. The front tire of the machine he got was punctured in dragging it through the window. and the machine became unridable. Along the road people were standing in the roadway. the pressure of the flight drove the people in an ever-thickening multitude away from the stations and along the northward-running roads. The flying people increased in number. hansom cabs. and people crowded on the pavement and in the doorways and windows. cutting off all escape over the bridges in its sluggish advance. wondering. exhausted and infuriated. seemed inclined to loiter in the place. By midday a Martian had been seen at Barnes.fineprint. staring astonished at this extraordinary procession of fugitives that was beginning. crossing it. but he got up and off. a couple of hundred yards or more from Liverpool Street station. and the dust hung in heavy clouds along the road to St. For a time he remained in Edgware not knowing what next to do. that at last induced my brother to strike into a quiet lane running eastward. and two motor cars. It was perhaps a vague idea of making his way to Chelmsford. and. curious. At that time the road was crowded. revolvers were fired. with no further injury than a cut wrist. By three. Most of the fugitives at that hour were mounted on cycles. Presently he came upon a stile. He left it by the roadside and trudged through the village. skirting the Edgware Road. A mile from Edgware the rim of the wheel broke. alive. Many of them. The steep foot of Haverstock Hill was impassable owing to several overturned horses.two o'clock. but there were soon motor cars. but unable to escape. and a dozen stalwart men fought to keep the crowd from crushing the driver against his furnace--my brother emerged upon the Chalk Farm road. and a cloud of slowly sinking black vapour drove along the Thames and across the flats of Lambeth. some horsemen. and surrounded a little island of survivors on Castle Hill. After a fruitless struggle to get aboard a North-Western train at Chalk Farm--the engines of the trains that had loaded in the goods yard there PLOUGHED through shrieking people. and carriages hurrying along. like my brother. followed a footpath PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. notwithstanding. people stabbed. but as yet far from congested. and. Albans. And as the day advanced and the engine drivers and stokers refused to return to London.
and gripped the collar of the man who pulled at the slender lady's arm. The less courageous of the robbers made off. and my brother. in a grass lane towards High Barnet. shouted. and with the women in it looking back. One of the ladies. cursing his cowardice. She fired at six yards' distance. He would have had little chance against them had not the slender lady very pluckily pulled up and returned to his help. and he rose to his feet to find himself with a couple of antagonists again. PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www.com . a short woman dressed in white. the whip stung across his face. Partly stunned. and became aware of the chaise receding from him down the lane. It seems she had had a revolver all this time. She turned without a word--they were both panting--and they went back to where the lady in white struggled to hold back the frightened pony. the other. Then. and his companion followed him. They both stopped in sight down the lane. his immediate pursuer went headlong. a third antagonist struck him between the eyes. He came upon them just in time to save them. swaying from side to side. he found himself facing the man who had held the horse's head. hurrying round the corner. while a third with difficulty held the frightened pony's head. My brother immediately grasped the situation. and she gave my brother her revolver. realising that he was deserted. slashed at the man who gripped her arm with a whip she held in her disengaged hand. "Take this!" said the slender lady. saw a couple of men struggling to drag them out of the little pony-chaise in which they had been driving. "Go back to the chaise. It was no time for pugilistic chivalry and my brother laid him quiet with a kick. a burly rough. and the man he held wrenched himself free and made off down the lane in the direction from which he had come. a dark. he dodged round and made off down the lane after the chaise. and. He heard their screams. with the sturdy man close behind him. and he stopped him with a blow in the face. The man before him. He saw few fugitives until. Suddenly he stumbled and fell. following remotely. who had turned now.fineprint. He heard the clatter of hoofs. realising from his antagonist's face that a fight was unavoidable. was simply screaming.northeastward. One of the men desisted and turned towards him. but it had been under the seat when she and her companion were attacked. narrowly missing my brother. where the third man lay insensible. He passed near several farmhouses and some little places whose names he did not learn. went into him forthwith and sent him down against the wheel of the chaise. wiping the blood from his split lip. tried to close. and hurried towards the struggle. and being an expert boxer. and the fugitive. he happened upon two ladies who became his fellow travellers." said my brother. slender figure.
at about half past four in the morning. brother looked again they were retreating. and of these my brother gathered such news as he could. and all that he knew of these Martians and their ways. a bruised jaw. Albans or New Barnet. and after a time their talk died out and gave place to an uneasy state of anticipation. roused the women--their servant had left them two days before--packed some provisions. he said. He would overtake them. deepened his persuasion of the immediate necessity for prosecuting this flight. and hesitated. and so they had come into this side lane. My brother thought that was hopeless. Several wayfarers came along the lane. and professed to be an expert shot with the revolver--a weapon strange to him--in order to give them confidence. driving along an unknown lane with these two women. He promised to stay with them. at least until they could determine what to do. They made a sort of encampment by the wayside. nearer to New Barnet." said my brother. Her eyes met my brother's. besides a five-pound note. my brother found himself. In another moment a bend in the road hid the three men from my brother's eyes. That was the story they told my brother in fragments when presently they stopped again. and now it was nearly nine and they had seen nothing of him. She explained that they had as much as thirty pounds in gold. He learned they were the wife and the younger sister of a surgeon living at Stanmore. "We have money. Every broken answer he had deepened his impression of the great disaster that had come on humanity." she said. and heard at some railway station on his way of the Martian advance. He had hurried home." said the slender woman.com . and he got upon the empty front seat. "if I may". panting. who had come in the small hours from a dangerous case at Pinner. and laid the whip along the pony's side. seeing the fury of the Londoners to crowd upon the trains. quite unexpectedly. put his revolver under the seat--luckily for my brother--and told them to drive on to Edgware. or until the missing man arrived. He urged the matter upon them. and suggested that with that they might get upon a train at St. with the idea of getting a train there." said my brother. So. and bloodstained knuckles. and the pony became happy in the hedge. and broached his own idea of striking across Essex towards Harwich and thence PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. When my "I'll sit here.fineprint. He told them of his own escape out of London. They could not stop in Edgware because of the growing traffic through the place. The lady looked over her shoulder. "So have I. "Give me the reins. and her hesitation ended. The sun crept higher in the sky. with a cut mouth.The robbers had evidently had enough of it. He stopped behind to tell the neighbours.
and when my brother told him it would if he turned to the left. His paroxysm of rage over. unclean.escaping from the country altogether. the creaking of waggons. and veiling the white facade of a terrace beyond the road that appeared between the backs of the villas. The lane came round sharply not fifty yards from the crossroads. So. one pressing on another. There were three girls. from between the villas that guarded it at its confluence with the high road. whitish sand grew burning and blinding. The tumultuous noise resolved itself now into the disorderly mingling of many voices. but her sister-in-law was astonishingly quiet and deliberate. Elphinstone suddenly cried out at a number of tongues of smoky red flame leaping up above the houses in front of them against the hot. murmuring indistinct questions. jaded. wildeyed. They began to meet more people. Elphinstone. carrying a child and with two other children. a torrent of human beings rushing northward. Then round the corner of the lane. with a thick stick in one hand and a small portmanteau in the other. grey with dust. and. and at last agreed to my brother's suggestion. The hedges were grey with dust. And as they advanced towards Barnet a tumultuous murmuring grew stronger. "This'll tike us rahnd Edgware?" asked the driver. A great bank of dust. he went on his way without once looking back. Mrs.com . and the staccato of hoofs.fineprint. East End factory girls. came a little cart drawn by a sweating black pony and driven by a sallow youth in a bowler hat. haggard. My brother noticed a pale grey smoke or haze rising among the houses in front of them. designing to cross the Great North Road. his eyes on the ground. so that they travelled only very slowly. and kept calling upon "George". he whipped up at once without the formality of thanks. They heard his voice. the gride of many wheels. you are driving us into?" My brother stopped. my brother leading the pony to save it as much as possible. As the sun crept up the sky the day became excessively hot. One man in evening dress passed them on foot. saw one hand clutched in his hair and the other beating invisible things. As my brother's party went on towards the crossroads to the south of Barnet they saw a woman approaching the road across some fields on their left. "Good heavens!" cried Mrs. For the main road was a boiling stream of people. blue sky. For the most part these were staring before them. and under foot a thick. white-faced. white and luminous in the blaze of the sun. made everything within twenty feet of the ground grey and indistinct and was perpetually renewed by "What is this PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. Elphinstone--that was the name of the woman in white--would listen to no reasoning. they went on towards Barnet. and a couple of little children crowded in the cart. and then passed a man in dirty black. Mrs. looking back at him.
and by the wheels of vehicles of every description. staring at nothing with miserable eyes. carrying a heavy bundle and weeping. but this was a whole population in movement. gesticulating with his crooked fingers and bawling. beyond counting. "Make way!" It was like riding into the smoke of a fire to approach the meeting point of the lane and road. stumbling in the ditches. The figures poured out past the corner. Then a dirty woman. So much as they could see of the road Londonward between the houses to the right was a tumultuous stream of dirty. "Push on! They are coming!" In one cart stood a blind man in the uniform of the Salvation Army. and fled at my brother's threat. The carts and carriages crowded close upon one another.the hurrying feet of a dense crowd of horses and of men and women on foot. carriages. And. down the lane. the black heads. indeed.fineprint. their eyes bloodshot. some sat motionless. Along the margin came those who were on foot threatened by the wheels. It had no character of its own. pent in between the villas on either side. with hanging tongue. grew into distinctness as they rushed towards the corner. A lost retriever dog. There were cabs. the crowded forms. Edgware had been a scene of confusion. or lay prostrate in the bottoms of their conveyances. hurrying people. "Way! Way!" One man's hands pressed on the back of another. making little way for those swifter and more impatient vehicles that darted forward every now and then when an opportunity showed itself of doing so. Two men came past them. he advanced slowly. It is hard to imagine that host. shop cars. sending the people scattering against the fences and gates of the villas. Irresistibly attracted. blundering into one another. hurried past. and the dust was hot and pungent. a road-cleaner's cart marked "Vestry of PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. and merged their individuality again in a receding multitude that was swallowed up at last in a cloud of dust. circled dubiously round them. a little way up the road a villa was burning and sending rolling masses of black smoke across the road to add to the confusion. "Way!" my brother heard voices crying. Chalk Farm a riotous tumult. scared and wretched. some gnawed their hands with thirst. the crowd roared like a fire.com . waggons. The horses" bits were covered with foam. My brother stood at the pony's head. "Go on! Go on!" cried the voices. and receded with their backs to the group in the lane. a mail cart. "Eternity! Eternity!" His voice was hoarse and very loud so that my brother could hear him long after he was lost to sight in the dust. Some of the people who crowded in the carts whipped stupidly at their horses and quarrelled with other drivers. "Push on!" was the cry. pace by pace.
loud-voiced. haggard women tramping by. who for the most part rested but a moment before plunging into it again. A tumult up the road. Pancras. even a man so scared and broken that his knees bent under him was galvanised for a moment into renewed activity. and had a delusive appearance of coming from the direction of London. clothed like clerks or shopmen. a wounded soldier my brother noticed. with two friends bending over him. and footsore.com . reproaches. men dressed in the clothes of railway porters. A little old man. and foul-mouthed. sent the whole host of them quickening their pace. The heat and dust had already been at work upon this multitude. There were sturdy workmen thrusting their way along. But varied as its composition was. Through it all ran a refrain: "Way! Way! The Martians are coming!" Few stopped and came aside from that flood. the voices of most of them were hoarse and weak. He was a lucky man to have friends. There were sad. their weary faces smeared with tears. weary.fineprint. "Clear the way!" cried the voices. sometimes helpful. certain things all that host had in common. And amid the various cries one heard disputes. struggling spasmodically. all alone. unkempt men. their lips black and cracked. and hobbled on again. and fear behind them. wide-eyed. "I can't go on! I can't go on!" My brother woke from his torpor of astonishment and lifted her up. as if frightened. Yet a kind of eddy of people drove into its mouth. with a grey military moustache and a filthy black frock coat. with tears in her PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. weaklings elbowed out of the stream. groans of weariness and fatigue. and then a little girl of eight or nine. one wretched creature in a nightshirt with a coat thrown over it. A little way down the lane. "Ellen!" shrieked a woman in the crowd. wretched. The lane opened slantingly into the main road with a narrow opening. "Eter-nity! "Clear the way!" Eter-nity!" came echoing down the road. Fighting side by side with them pushed some weary street outcast in faded black rags. There were fear and pain on their faces. with children that cried and stumbled." a huge timber waggon crowded with roughs. Their skins were dry. wrapped about with bloody rags. So soon as my brother touched her she became quite still. speaking gently to her. their dainty clothes smothered in dust. and carried her to Miss Elphinstone. removed his boot--his sock was blood-stained--shook out a pebble.St. sometimes lowering and savage. well dressed. weeping. With many of these came men. They were all thirsty. A brewer's dray rumbled by with its two near wheels splashed with fresh blood. lay a man with a bare leg. limped out and sat down beside the trap. threw herself under the hedge close by my brother. a quarrel for a place in a waggon.
The driver of the cart slashed his whip PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. The man stopped and looked stupidly at the heap. eagle-faced man lugging a small handbag. and the shaft of a cab struck his shoulder and sent him reeling." said a man on horseback. towering high. and in another moment. with a pole for a pair of horses. "Go on!" said the people. upon the heap of coins. "Lord Garrick!" said my brother." "He is dying fast. but only one was in the traces. and a cartwheel shaved him narrowly. One of the men came running to my brother. crying "Mother!" "They are coming. thrusting at him. and saw through the dust the rim passing over the poor wretch's back. "the Chief Justice?" "The water?" he said.voice--"Ellen!" And the child suddenly darted away from my brother. A horse rose close upon him. He gave a shriek and dodged back. and began thrusting handfuls in his pocket. "Out of the way. The people crushed back on one another to avoid the horse. It is Lord Garrick. "Where is there any water?" he said. he heard a scream under the wheels. "Stop!" screamed my brother. "Way!" cried the men all about him. with both hands open. "Make way!" So soon as the cab had passed. riding past along the lane. "There may be a tap.fineprint. My brother saw dimly through the dust that two men lifted out something on a white stretcher and put it gently on the grass beneath the privet hedge. and pushing a woman out of his way. We have no water. he flung himself. tried to clutch the bit of the horse. and the man drove by and stopped at the turn of the way. which split even as my brother's eyes rested on it and disgorged a mass of sovereigns that seemed to break up into separate coins as it struck the ground. "in some of the houses." said my brother. It was a carriage. there!" bawled a coachman. and my brother saw a closed carriage turning into the lane. and very thirsty.com . coming! Go on!" "They are Then my brother's attention was distracted by a bearded." The man pushed against the crowd towards the gate of the corner house. half rising. They rolled hither and thither among the struggling feet of men and horses. I dare not leave my people. My brother pushed the pony and chaise back into the hedge. Before he could get to it. he had been borne down under the horse's hoofs.
" My brother was horrified and perplexed. There was a concussion. while she drove the pony across its head. my brother lugged him sideways. My brother looked up. crouching in their seat and shivering. and. PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. "Get him out of the road. and had to fight hard in the torrent to recover it.fineprint. suddenly resolute. The two women sat silent. For the second time that day this girl proved her quality. and the black horse came staggering sideways. and began turning the pony round. for the wheel had broken his back. my brother plunged into the traffic and held back a cab horse. The multitudinous shouting confused his ears. clutching the man's collar with his free hand. and a little child. hammering at his arm with a handful of gold. and the carthorse pushed beside it. A waggon locked wheels for a moment and ripped a long splinter from the chaise. But he still clutched after his money. He turned to Miss Elphinstone. with all a child's want of sympathetic imagination. My brother stood up and yelled at the next driver. and regarded my brother fiercely. and her sister-in-law sat weeping. deadly white and drawn. He saw anger change to terror on the face of the poor wretch on the ground. "We must go that way. My brother. unable to rise. too wretched even to call upon "George. "Go on! Go on!" shouted angry voices behind. who ran round behind the cart." he said and they went back a hundred yards the way they had come. So soon as they had retreated he realised how urgent and unavoidable it was to attempt this crossing. with the cabman's whip marks red across his face and hands. until the fighting crowd was hidden." he said.com . He released his grip on the fallen man and jumped back. and a man on a black horse came to his assistance. "We cannot cross this--hell." said he. scrambled into the chaise and took the reins from her. "Way! Way!" There was a smash as the pole of a carriage crashed into the cart that the man on horseback stopped. and shining with perspiration. The man was writhing in the dust among his scattered money. "Let us go back!" he shouted. ground and crushed under the rolling wheels. In another moment they were caught and swept forward by the stream. staring with dilated eyes at a dusty something that lay black and still. As they passed the bend in the lane my brother saw the face of the dying man in the ditch under the privet.at my brother. and in a moment he was hidden and my brother was borne backward and carried past the entrance of the lane. A hoof missed my brother's foot by a hair's breadth. Miss Elphinstone was white and pale. To force their way into the torrent of people. Then beyond the bend my brother stopped again. and his lower limbs lay limp and dead. He saw Miss Elphinstone covering her eyes. and led the pony round again. and the man with the gold twisted his head round and bit the wrist that held his collar.
and this to some extent relieved the stress. they were nearly a mile beyond the centre of the town before they had fought across to the opposite side of the way. Never before in the history of the world had such a mass of human beings moved and suffered together. Not only along the road through Barnet. and going in the direction from which my brother had come. They swept through Chipping Barnet with the torrent."Point the revolver at the man behind. The legendary hosts of Goths and Huns. I have set forth at length in the last chapter my brother's account of the road through Chipping Barnet. and none of them dared to sleep. And in the evening many people came hurrying along the road nearby their stopping place. They began to suffer the beginnings of hunger. as it spread itself slowly through the home counties.com . would have been but a drop in that current." Then he began to look out for a chance of edging to the right across the road. poured the same frantic rout. and south of the Thames to Deal and Broadstairs. PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. Near this place they halted for the rest of the afternoon. and at another place farther on they came upon a great multitude of people drinking at the stream. "if he presses us too hard. And farther on.fineprint. But once in the stream he seemed to lose volition. If one could have hung that June morning in a balloon in the blazing blue above London every northward and eastward road running out of the tangled maze of streets would have seemed stippled black with the streaming fugitives. CHAPTER SEVENTEEN THE "THUNDER CHILD" Had the Martians aimed only at destruction. for at that time the furious terror of the people had rendered the central termini impossible. each dot a human agony of terror and physical distress. the hugest armies Asia has ever seen. and along the roads eastward to Southend and Shoeburyness. from a lull near East Barnet. to become a part of that dusty rout. It was din and confusion indescribable. They struck eastward through Hadley. they saw two trains running slowly one after the other without signal or order--trains swarming with people. they might on Monday have annihilated the entire population of London." he said. giving it to her. but also through Edgware and Waltham Abbey. fleeing from unknown dangers before them. with men even among the coals behind the engines--going northward along the Great Northern Railway. some fighting to come at the water. My brother supposes they must have filled outside London. the night was cold. for the violence of the day had already utterly exhausted all three of them. but in and beyond the town the road forks repeatedly. No!--point it at his horse. and there on either side of the road. in order that my readers may realise how that swarming of black dots appeared to one of those concerned.
People were actually clambering down the piers of the bridge from above. driving headlong. and even. Of the falling of the fifth cylinder I have presently to tell. The news that the Martians were now in possession of the whole of London was confirmed. keeping watch beside the women in the chaise in a meadow. Certain it is that many died at home suffocated by the Black Smoke. They had been seen at Highgate. and collision. and the sailors and lightermen had to fight savagely against the people who swarmed upon them from the riverfront. gardens--already derelict--spread out like a huge map. now banking itself against rising ground. six million people unarmed and unprovisioned.fineprint. They do not seem to have aimed at extermination so much as at complete demoralisation and the destruction of any opposition.com . saw the green flash of it far beyond the hills. nothing but wreckage floated above Limehouse. and wrecked the railways here and there. an hour later. tempted by the enormous sums of money offered by fugitives. of the massacre of mankind. About one o'clock in the afternoon the thinning remnant of a cloud of the black vapour appeared between the arches of Blackfriars Bridge. My brother. calmly and methodically spreading their poison cloud over this patch of country and then over that. made its way through the swarming country towards Colchester. Steamboats and shipping of all sorts lay there. each black splash grew and spread. When. Until about midday the Pool of London was an astonishing scene. a Martian appeared beyond the Clock Tower and waded down the river. On Tuesday the little party. and taking possession of the conquered country. still set upon getting across the sea. Wimbledon. laying it again with their steam jets when it had served its purpose. The sixth star fell at Wimbledon. Steadily. shooting out ramifications this way and that. and for some time a multitude of boats and barges jammed in the northern arch of the Tower Bridge. incessantly. it PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. They exploded any stores of powder they came upon. and in the southward BLOTTED. over the blue hills that rise southward of the river. It was the beginning of the rout of civilisation. it would have seemed as if some monstrous pen had flung ink upon the chart. cut every telegraph. now pouring swiftly over a crest into a new-found valley. It is possible that a very considerable number of people in London stuck to their houses through Monday morning. exactly as a gout of ink would spread itself upon blotting paper. Directly below him the balloonist would have seen the network of streets far and wide. houses. crescents. and did not come beyond the central part of London all that day. it was a stampede--a stampede gigantic and terrible--without order and without a goal. At that the Pool became a scene of mad confusion. And beyond.And this was no disciplined march. fighting. and it is said that many who swam out to these vessels were thrust off with boathooks and drowned. They were hamstringing mankind. They seemed in no hurry to extend the field of their operations. Richmond. churches. Over Ealing. squares. the glittering Martians went to and fro.
and that enormous quantities of high explosives were being prepared to be used in automatic mines across the Midland counties. Here there were rumours of Martians at Epping.com . for she took that duty alternately with my brother. Dutch. French. and the three pressed eastward all day. People were watching for Martians here from the church towers. did anyone else hear more of it. and afterwards to Foulness and Shoebury. falling upon Primrose Hill. and there were some desperate souls even going back towards London to get food. For after the sailors could no longer come up the Thames. and was running northward trains from St. granaries. as a matter of fact. There was also a placard in Chipping Ongar announcing that large stores of flour were available in the northern towns and that within twenty-four hours bread would be distributed among the starving people in the neighbourhood. electric boats. very luckily for him as it chanced. PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. which. and news of the destruction of Waltham Abbey Powder Mills in a vain attempt to blow up one of the invaders. On Wednesday the three fugitives--they had passed the night in a field of unripe wheat--reached Chelmsford. a multitude of filthy colliers.fineprint. to Harwich and Walton and Clacton. trim merchantmen. That day the scattered multitudes began to realise the urgent need of provisions. Close inshore was a multitude of fishing smacks--English. seized the pony as provisions. Scotch. they came on to the Essex coast. Nor. They lay in a huge sickle-shaped curve that vanished into mist at last towards the Naze. and Swedish. steam launches from the Thames. although all three of them were very hungry. and there a body of the inhabitants. to bring off the people. and ripening root crops with arms in their hands. He heard that about half the members of the government had gathered at Birmingham. had their faces eastward. yachts. That night fell the seventh star. But this intelligence did not deter him from the plan of escape he had formed. had resumed traffic. seemed to be quite silent and deserted. at Neasden. Farmers were out to defend their cattle-sheds. But they did not come into my brother's view until the morrow. Albans to relieve the congestion of the home counties. A number of people now. As they grew hungry the rights of property ceased to be regarded. He was also told that the Midland Railway Company had replaced the desertions of the first day's panic.was said. She saw it. and beyond were ships of large burden. cattle ships. whose knowledge of the Black Smoke came by hearsay. It fell while Miss Elphinstone was watching. and the most amazing crowd of shipping of all sorts that it is possible to imagine. By midday they passed through Tillingham. My brother. Near Tillingham they suddenly came in sight of the sea. strangely enough. preferred to push on at once to the coast rather than wait for food. like my brother. calling itself the Committee of Public Supply. and would give nothing in exchange for it but the promise of a share in it the next day. These were chiefly people from the northern suburbs. save for a few furtive plunderers hunting for food. and heard no more of the bread distribution than this promise.
At the sight of the sea. she would rather die than trust herself friendless in a foreign country. Some of the passengers were of opinion that this firing came from Shoeburyness. and so forth. Mrs. There were already a couple of score of passengers aboard. He would probably have remained longer had it not been for the sound of guns that began about that hour in the south. They would find George at Stanmore. the ironclad seaward fired a small gun and hoisted a string of flags. Things had been always well and safe at Stanmore. She had never been out of England before. The steamer was going. This was the ram THUNDER CHILD. to my brother's perception. having paid their fares at the gangway. across the Thames estuary during the course of the Martian conquest. fearful. It was with the greatest difficulty they could get her down to the beach. There was food aboard. She seemed.com .fineprint. to imagine that the French and the Martians might prove very similar. and the three of them contrived to eat a meal on one of the seats forward. which hovered in an extended line. neat white and grey liners from Southampton and Hamburg. vigilant and yet powerless to prevent it. It was the only warship in sight. Her great idea was to return to Stanmore. to Ostend. About a couple of miles out lay an ironclad. But my brother's attention speedily reverted to the distant firing in the south. albeit at exorbitant prices. steam up and ready for action. At the same time. an old white transport even. some of whom had expended their last money in securing a passage. a swarm which also extended up the Blackwater almost to Maldon. and along the blue coast across the Blackwater my brother could make out dimly a dense swarm of boats chaffering with the people on the beach. poor woman. It was about two o'clock when my brother. found himself safely aboard the steamboat with his charges. and depressed during the two days' journeyings. beneath clouds of black smoke. petroleum tanks. like a waterlogged ship. very low in the water. almost. until it was noticed that it was growing louder. He fancied he saw a column of smoke rising out of the distant grey haze. where presently my brother succeeded in attracting the attention of some men on a paddle steamer from the Thames. far away in the southeast the masts and upperworks of three ironclads rose one after the other out of the sea. these men said. She had been growing increasingly hysterical.passenger boats. but the captain lay off the Blackwater until five in the afternoon. ocean tramps. A jet of smoke sprang out of her funnels. Elphinstone. They sent a boat and drove a bargain for thirty-six pounds for the three. picking up passengers until the seated decks were even dangerously crowded. PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. As if in answer. in spite of the assurances of her sister-in-law. gave way to panic. but far away to the right over the smooth surface of the sea--for that day there was a dead calm--lay a serpent of black smoke to mark the next ironclads of the Channel Fleet.
watching this Titan advancing deliberately towards the shipping. wading farther and farther into the water as the coast fell away. There was a shouting all about him. more amazed than terrified. THUNDER CHILD. When his eyes were clear again he saw the monster had passed and was rushing landward. and the paddles seemed infected with his terror. tossing it on either side in huge waves of foam that leaped towards the steamer. my brother saw the large crescent of shipping already writhing with the approaching terror.The little steamer was already flapping her way eastward of the big crescent of shipping. In spite of the throbbing exertions of the engines of the little paddleboat. as if to intercept the escape of the multitudinous vessels that were crowded between Foulness and the Naze. Then. small and faint in the remote distance. Glancing northwestward. and PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. He was so fascinated by this and by the creeping danger away to the left that he had no eyes for anything seaward. steamships whistling and giving off volumes of steam. Keeping his footing on the heaving deck by clutching the bulwarks.fineprint. advancing along the muddy coast from the direction of Foulness. steaming headlong.com . They were all stalking seaward. and the pouring foam that her wheels flung behind her. came another. another coming round from broadside to end on. launches rushing hither and thither. and not a hundred yards from their heeling. and advancing with a leisurely parody of a human stride. a trampling of feet. A douche of spray blinded my brother for a moment. far away beyond the Crouch. sails being let out. coming to the rescue of the threatened shipping. The steamboat lurched and rolled him over upon his hands. And then a swift movement of the steamboat (she had suddenly come round to avoid being run down) flung him headlong from the seat upon which he was standing. and standing so far out to sea that their tripod supports were almost entirely submerged. flinging her paddles helplessly in the air. and from that twin funnels projected and spat a smoking blast shot with fire. striding over some stunted trees. and then sucking her deck down almost to the waterline. higher than the trees or church towers inland. a vast iron bulk like the blade of a plough tearing through the water. and he saw the three of them now close together. one ship passing behind another. and a cheer that seemed to be answered faintly. He sprang to his feet and saw to starboard. Big iron upperworks rose out of this headlong structure. and then yet another. still farther off. my brother looked past this charging leviathan at the Martians again. Every soul aboard stood at the bulwarks or on the seats of the steamer and stared at that distant shape. It was the first Martian my brother had seen. pitching boat. At that the captain on the bridge swore at the top of his voice with fear and anger at his own delay. It was the torpedo ram. and he stood. and the low Essex coast was growing blue and hazy. wading deeply through a shiny mudflat that seemed to hang halfway up between sea and sky. Thus sunken. when a Martian appeared. she receded with terrifying slowness from this ominous advance.
but simply drove full speed towards them. an unfolding torrent of Black Smoke.seen in remote perspective. and in another moment the flaming wreckage. and they would have sent her to the bottom forthwith with the Heat-Ray.fineprint. from which the ironclad drove clear. her decks. low in the water and with the sun in their eyes. her funnels. and all the crowding passengers on the steamer's stern shouted together. it seems. it seemed as though she were already among the Martians. The guns of the THUNDER CHILD sounded through the reek. and one shot splashed the water high close by the steamer." yelled the captain. A boiling tumult of steam hid everything again. The Martian staggered with the violence of her explosion.com . Then with a violent thud. the giant was even such another as themselves. they appeared far less formidable than the huge iron bulk in whose wake the steamer was pitching so helplessly. had struck him and crumpled him up like a thing of cardboard. They saw the gaunt figures separating and rising out of the water as they retreated shoreward. And then they yelled again. But no one heeded that very much. its ventilators and funnels spouting fire. To the watchers from the steamer. and smashed a smack to matchwood. going off one after the other. was intact and her engines working. It hit her larboard side and glanced off in an inky jet that rolled away to seaward. To their intelligence. ricocheted towards the other flying ships to the north. She was steaming at such a pace that in a minute she seemed halfway between the steamboat and the Martians-a diminishing black bulk against the receding horizontal expanse of the Essex coast. leaped upward. My brother shouted involuntarily. At the sight of the Martian's collapse the captain on the bridge yelled inarticulately. He held it pointing obliquely downward. In another moment he was cut down. It would seem they were regarding this new antagonist with astonishment. and then the Martian reeled and staggered. It was probably her not firing that enabled her to get so near the enemy as she did. and a bank of steam sprang from the water at its touch. She was alive still. For. and one of them raised the camera-like generator of the Heat-Ray. and was within a hundred yards of him when the Heat-Ray came to bear. They did not know what to make of her. She headed straight for a second Martian. PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. One shell. and a great body of water and steam shot high in the air. A flicker of flame went up through the rising steam. Suddenly the foremost Martian lowered his tube and discharged a canister of the black gas at the ironclad. It must have driven through the iron of the ship's side like a white-hot iron rod through paper. it may be. drove something long and black. "Two!. The THUNDER CHILD fired no gun. the steering gear. the flames streaming from its middle parts. still driving forward with the impetus of its pace. a blinding flash. surging out beyond the white tumult.
and when at last the confusion cleared. the warships turned northward. and before they reached the sinking cloud bank. which was hidden still by a marbled bank of vapour. part steam. After a time. part black gas. and vanished again into the grey mystery of the night. And as it flew it rained down darkness upon the land. and at last indistinguishable amid the low banks of clouds that were gathering about the sinking sun. eddying and combining in the strangest way. and a form of black shadows moving. and very large. The steam hung upon the water for many minutes. The fleet of refugees was scattering to the northeast.fineprint. The steamboat throbbed on its way through an interminable suspense. grew smaller.com . that swept round in a vast curve. Then suddenly out of the golden haze of the sunset came the vibration of guns. and then abruptly went about and passed into the thickening haze of evening southward. hiding the third Martian and the coast altogether. the evening star trembled into sight. nor could the third Martian be seen. My brother strained his eyes. The sun sank into grey clouds. several smacks were sailing between the ironclads and the steamboat. but nothing was to be distinguished clearly. The little vessel continued to beat its way seaward. and the ironclads receded slowly towards the coast. A mass of smoke rose slanting and barred the face of the sun. something flat and broad. sank slowly. the drifting bank of black vapour intervened. The coast grew faint. It was deep twilight when the captain cried out and pointed. Everyone struggled to the rail of the steamer and peered into the blinding furnace of the west. and nothing of the THUNDER CHILD could be made out. the sky flushed and darkened. BOOK TWO THE EARTH UNDER THE MARTIANS CHAPTER ONE PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. The whole steamer from end to end rang with frantic cheering that was taken up first by one and then by all in the crowding multitude of ships and boats that was driving out to sea. But the ironclads to seaward were now quite close and standing in towards shore past the steamboat. And all this time the boat was paddling steadily out to sea and away from the fight.Everyone was shouting. Something rushed up into the sky out of the greyness--rushed slantingly upward and very swiftly into the luminous clearness above the clouds in the western sky.
We saw nothing of them next day. the country northward was as though a black snowstorm had passed over it. mourning me already as a dead man. but he was not the sort of man to realise danger quickly. After some ineffectual remonstrance I kept away from him. "safe here. unreasonable. that now we might get away. but circumspection. I grew very weary and irritable with the curate's perpetual ejaculations. nor what became of them. of all that might happen to her in my absence. creeping nearer and nearer to us." he repeated. There were signs of people in the next house on Sunday evening--a face at a window and moving lights. locked myself in. So soon as I realised that the way of escape was open. A Martian came across the fields about midday. Looking towards the river. When he followed me thither. There I will resume. But I do not know who these people were. forms. My mind was occupied by anxiety for my wife. I went to a box room at the top of the house and. save that we were relieved of our fear of the Black Smoke. to rise promptly. My only consolation was to believe that the Martians were moving Londonward and away from her. and scalded the curate's hand as he fled out of the front room. in order to be alone with my aching miseries. I tired of the sight of his selfish despair. My cousin I knew was brave enough for any emergency. What was needed now was not bravery. I paced the rooms and cried aloud when I thought of how I was cut off from her. and copybooks. staying in a room--evidently a children's schoolroom--containing globes. we were astonished to see an unaccountable redness mingling with the black of the scorched meadows. "We are safe here. terrified. But the curate was lethargic." PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. When at last we crept across the sodden rooms and looked out again. We were hopelessly hemmed in by the Black Smoke all that day and the morning of the next.fineprint. laying the stuff with a jet of superheated steam that hissed against the walls. We stopped there all Sunday night and all the next day--the day of the panic--in a little island of daylight. For a time we did not see how this change affected our position. driving at last along the roadway outside the house that hid us. my dream of action returned. I figured her at Leatherhead. cut off by the Black Smoke from the rest of the world. Such vague anxieties keep the mind sensitive and painful.UNDER FOOT In the first book I have wandered so much from my own adventures to tell of the experiences of my brother that all through the last two chapters I and the curate have been lurking in the empty house at Halliford whither we fled to escape the Black Smoke. But later I perceived that we were no longer hemmed in. and later the slamming of a door. in danger. The Black Smoke drifted slowly riverward all through Monday morning.com . smashed all the windows it touched. We could do nothing but wait in aching inactivity during those two weary days.
of course. overturned carts and luggage. and dead bodies--a heap near the approach to the station. In Sunbury. but turned aside and hid in a shed in a garden. taking advantage of a lull to shift their quarters. We crossed Richmond Bridge about half past eight. We saw in the blackened distance a group of three people running down a side street towards the river. pounded into the road by the wheels of subsequent carts. our minds full of strange and unfamiliar appearances. We were so terrified that we dared not go on. Up the hill Richmond town was burning briskly. and had the Martian looked down we must immediately have perished. I went PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. but otherwise it seemed deserted. along the blackened road to Sunbury. with its deer going to and fro under the chestnuts. not a hundred yards away from us. When it was clear to him that I meant to go alone--had reconciled myself to going alone--he suddenly roused himself to come. For the most part they were like ourselves. Away across the road the woods beyond Ham and Petersham were still afire. I sought out food and drink. and the upperworks of a Martian fightingmachine loomed in sight over the housetops. horses as well as men. and at intervals along the road. too frightened even for flight. weeping silently. Twickenham was uninjured by either Heat-Ray or Black Smoke. There the curate crouched. were dead bodies lying in contorted attitudes. and in the twilight I ventured out again. Here again on the Surrey side were black dust that had once been smoke. We stood aghast at our danger. some many feet across. and some men and women hurrying in the distance towards Hampton. as we approached Kew.I resolved to leave him--would that I had! Wiser now for the artilleryman's teaching.com . but I noticed floating down the stream a number of red masses. I had found oil and rags for my burns. These were the first people we saw.fineprint. That pall of cindery powder made me think of what I had read of the destruction of Pompeii. and so we came to Twickenham. But my fixed idea of reaching Leatherhead would not let me rest. I remember most vividly three smashed bicycles in a heap. and there were more people about here. we started about five o'clock. all covered thickly with black dust. as I should judge. Here too the evidence of a hasty rout was abundant along the road. Then suddenly. though none could give us news. We went through Bushey Park. outside the town of Richmond there was no trace of the Black Smoke. And all being quiet throughout the afternoon. I did not know what these were--there was no time for scrutiny--and I put a more horrible interpretation on them than they deserved. We got to Hampton Court without misadventure. We hurried across the exposed bridge. and refusing to stir again. but we had no glimpse of the Martians until we were some way towards Barnes. and I also took a hat and a flannel shirt that I found in one of the bedrooms. came a number of people running. I have an impression that many of the houses here were still occupied by scared inhabitants. and at Hampton Court our eyes were relieved to find a patch of green that had escaped the suffocating drift.
through a shrubbery, and along a passage beside a big house standing in its own grounds, and so emerged upon the road towards Kew. The curate I left in the shed, but he came hurrying after me. That second start was the most foolhardy thing I ever did. For it was manifest the Martians were about us. No sooner had the curate overtaken me than we saw either the fightingmachine we had seen before or another, far away across the meadows in the direction of Kew Lodge. Four or five little black figures hurried before it across the green-grey of the field, and in a moment it was evident this Martian pursued them. In three strides he was among them, and they ran radiating from his feet in all directions. He used no Heat-Ray to destroy them, but picked them up one by one. Apparently he tossed them into the great metallic carrier which projected behind him, much as a workman's basket hangs over his shoulder. It was the first time I realised that the Martians might have any other purpose than destruction with defeated humanity. We stood for a moment petrified, then turned and fled through a gate behind us into a walled garden, fell into, rather than found, a fortunate ditch, and lay there, scarce daring to whisper to each other until the stars were out. I suppose it was nearly eleven o'clock before we gathered courage to start again, no longer venturing into the road, but sneaking along hedgerows and through plantations, and watching keenly through the darkness, he on the right and I on the left, for the Martians, who seemed to be all about us. In one place we blundered upon a scorched and blackened area, now cooling and ashen, and a number of scattered dead bodies of men, burned horribly about the heads and trunks but with their legs and boots mostly intact; and of dead horses, fifty feet, perhaps, behind a line of four ripped guns and smashed gun carriages. Sheen, it seemed, had escaped destruction, but the place was silent and deserted. Here we happened on no dead, though the night was too dark for us to see into the side roads of the place. In Sheen my companion suddenly complained of faintness and thirst, and we decided to try one of the houses. The first house we entered, after a little difficulty with the window, was a small semi-detached villa, and I found nothing eatable left in the place but some mouldy cheese. There was, however, water to drink; and I took a hatchet, which promised to be useful in our next housebreaking. We then crossed to a place where the road turns towards Mortlake. Here there stood a white house within a walled garden, and in the pantry of this domicile we found a store of food--two loaves of bread in a pan, an uncooked steak, and the half of a ham. I give this catalogue so precisely because, as it happened, we were destined to subsist upon this store for the next fortnight. Bottled beer stood under a shelf, and there were two bags of haricot beans and some limp lettuces. This pantry opened into a kind of wash-up kitchen, and in
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this was firewood; there was also a cupboard, in which we found nearly a dozen of burgundy, tinned soups and salmon, and two tins of biscuits. We sat in the adjacent kitchen in the dark--for we dared not strike a light--and ate bread and ham, and drank beer out of the same bottle. The curate, who was still timorous and restless, was now, oddly enough, for pushing on, and I was urging him to keep up his strength by eating when the thing happened that was to imprison us. "It can't be midnight yet," I said, and then came a blinding glare of vivid green light. Everything in the kitchen leaped out, clearly visible in green and black, and vanished again. And then followed such a concussion as I have never heard before or since. So close on the heels of this as to seem instantaneous came a thud behind me, a clash of glass, a crash and rattle of falling masonry all about us, and the plaster of the ceiling came down upon us, smashing into a multitude of fragments upon our heads. I was knocked headlong across the floor against the oven handle and stunned. I was insensible for a long time, the curate told me, and when I came to we were in darkness again, and he, with a face wet, as I found afterwards, with blood from a cut forehead, was dabbing water over me. For some time I could not recollect what had happened. Then things came to me slowly. A bruise on my temple asserted itself. "Are you better?" asked the curate in a whisper. At last I answered him. I sat up.
"Don't move," he said. "The floor is covered with smashed crockery from the dresser. You can't possibly move without making a noise, and I fancy THEY are outside." We both sat quite silent, so that we could scarcely hear each other breathing. Everything seemed deadly still, but once something near us, some plaster or broken brickwork, slid down with a rumbling sound. Outside and very near was an intermittent, metallic rattle. "That!" said the curate, when presently it happened again. "Yes," I said. "But what is it?"
"A Martian!" said the curate. I listened again. "It was not like the Heat-Ray," I said, and for a time I was inclined to think one of the great fighting-machines had stumbled against the house, as I had seen one stumble against the tower of Shepperton Church. Our situation was so strange and incomprehensible that for three or four hours, until the dawn came, we scarcely moved. And then the light filtered in, not through the window, which
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remained black, but through a triangular aperture between a beam and a heap of broken bricks in the wall behind us. The interior of the kitchen we now saw greyly for the first time. The window had been burst in by a mass of garden mould, which flowed over the table upon which we had been sitting and lay about our feet. Outside, the soil was banked high against the house. At the top of the window frame we could see an uprooted drainpipe. The floor was littered with smashed hardware; the end of the kitchen towards the house was broken into, and since the daylight shone in there, it was evident the greater part of the house had collapsed. Contrasting vividly with this ruin was the neat dresser, stained in the fashion, pale green, and with a number of copper and tin vessels below it, the wallpaper imitating blue and white tiles, and a couple of coloured supplements fluttering from the walls above the kitchen range. As the dawn grew clearer, we saw through the gap in the wall the body of a Martian, standing sentinel, I suppose, over the still glowing cylinder. At the sight of that we crawled as circumspectly as possible out of the twilight of the kitchen into the darkness of the scullery. Abruptly the right interpretation dawned upon my mind. "The fifth cylinder," I whispered, "the fifth shot from Mars, has struck this house and buried us under the ruins!" For a time the curate was silent, and then he whispered: "God have mercy upon us!" I heard him presently whimpering to himself. Save for that sound we lay quite still in the scullery; I for my part scarce dared breathe, and sat with my eyes fixed on the faint light of the kitchen door. I could just see the curate's face, a dim, oval shape, and his collar and cuffs. Outside there began a metallic hammering, then a violent hooting, and then again, after a quiet interval, a hissing like the hissing of an engine. These noises, for the most part problematical, continued intermittently, and seemed if anything to increase in number as time wore on. Presently a measured thudding and a vibration that made everything about us quiver and the vessels in the pantry ring and shift, began and continued. Once the light was eclipsed, and the ghostly kitchen doorway became absolutely dark. For many hours we must have crouched there, silent and shivering, until our tired attention failed. . . . At last I found myself awake and very hungry. I am inclined to believe we must have spent the greater portion of a day before that awakening. My hunger was at a stride so insistent that it moved me to action. I told the curate I was going to seek food, and felt my way towards the pantry. He made me no answer, but so soon as I began eating the faint noise I made stirred him up and I heard him crawling after me.
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The earth all round it had splashed under that tremendous impact--"splashed" is the only word --and lay in heaped piles that hid the masses of the adjacent houses. completely smashed. The detachment of the plaster had left a vertical slit open in the debris. For a minute or so I remained watching the curate. The fifth cylinder must have fallen right into the midst of the house we had first visited. and stood buried now under soil and ruins. Vast. At first I scarcely noticed the pit and the PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. already vastly larger than the pit I had looked into at Woking. amid the smashed and gravel-heaped shrubbery. and by raising myself cautiously across a beam I was able to see out of this gap into what had been overnight a quiet suburban roadway. The cylinder was already opened in the centre of the pit. and then I advanced. His shoulders were hunched. crouching and stepping with extreme care amid the broken crockery that littered the floor. stood stiff and tall against the evening sky. Then I turned to see how much of our rampart remained. had been destroyed completely. and the place rocked with that beating thud. pulverised. lying against the triangular hole that looked out upon the Martians.CHAPTER TWO WHAT WE SAW FROM THE RUINED HOUSE After eating we crept back to the scullery. even on the ground floor. so that his head was hidden from me. and at last felt my way to the door of the kitchen. I could hear a number of noises almost like those in an engine shed. closed in by tons of earth on every side save towards the cylinder. The cylinder lay now far beneath the original foundations-deep in a hole. and ever and again a bright green vapour drove up like a veil across our peephole. for when presently I looked round I was alone. fearing he might cry out. and dispersed by the blow. and he started so violently that a mass of plaster went sliding down outside and fell with a loud impact. and on the farther edge of the pit. I touched the curate's leg. the front portion. The building had vanished. and there I must have dozed again. It was still daylight. was the change that we beheld. and I perceived him across the room. one of the great fighting-machines. Through the aperture in the wall I could see the top of a tree touched with gold and the warm blue of a tranquil evening sky. Over that aspect we hung now on the very edge of the great circular pit the Martians were engaged in making. indeed. It had behaved exactly like mud under the violent blow of a hammer. deserted by its occupant.fineprint. Our house had collapsed backward.com . and for a long time we crouched motionless. The heavy beating sound was evidently just behind us. I gripped his arm. I whispered for the curate several times. The thudding vibration continued with wearisome persistence. by a chance the kitchen and scullery had escaped.
They were huge round bodies--or. heads--about four feet in diameter. leathery integument to that of the other sprawling bodies beyond. and the study of which has already given such an enormous impetus to terrestrial invention. were lifted out and deposited upon a level surface of earth behind it. each body having in front of it a face. and reaching and clutching tentacles about its body. It was one of those complicated fabrics that have since been called handling-machines. but PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. They were. the Martians do not seem to have had any sense of smell. He presented them as tilted. These. the controlling Martian whose delicate tentacles actuated its movements seeming to be simply the equivalent of the crab's cerebral portion.cylinder. the pamphlet would have been much better without them. The fighting-machines were co-ordinated and animated to an extraordinary pitch. I was concealed and motionless. on account of the extraordinary glittering mechanism I saw busy in the excavation. and perfect that at first I did not see it as a machine. and on account of the strange creatures that were crawling slowly and painfully across the heaped mould near it. Already I had had a transient impression of these. complex. and bars which lined the covering and apparently strengthened the walls of the cylinder. agile legs. without either flexibility or subtlety. plates. To my mind. Most of its arms were retracted. They were no more like the Martians I saw in action than a Dutch doll is like a human being. but nothing to compare with this.fineprint. The artist had evidently made a hasty study of one of the fighting-machines. rather. People who have never seen these structures. Moreover. and the first nausea no longer obscured my observation. The pamphlet containing these renderings had a considerable vogue. But then I perceived the resemblance of its grey-brown. it presented a sort of metallic spider with five jointed. I now saw. and have only the ill-imagined efforts of artists or the imperfect descriptions of such eye-witnesses as myself to go upon. and with an extraordinary number of jointed levers. This face had no nostrils--indeed. the handling-machine did not impress me as a machine. the real Martians. and I mention them here simply to warn the reader against the impression they may have created. but as a crablike creature with a glittering integument. I say. As it dawned upon me first. shiny. and with an altogether misleading monotony of effect. and there his knowledge ended. scarcely realise that living quality. the most unearthly creatures it is possible to conceive. although it has been convenient to describe them first. The mechanism it certainly was that held my attention first. At first. stiff tripods. in spite of its metallic glitter. but with three long tentacles it was fishing out a number of rods. bars. as it extracted them. and under no urgency of action.com . and the true nature of this dexterous workman dawned upon me. With that realisation my interest shifted to those other creatures. I recall particularly the illustration of one of the first pamphlets to give a consecutive account of the war. Its motion was so swift.
blood obtained from a still living animal. to judge from the shrivelled remains that have fallen into human hands. though it must have been almost useless in our dense air. was run directly by means of a little pipette into the recipient canal.it had a pair of very large dark-coloured eyes. the HANDS. But. The greater part of the structure was the brain. since known to be anatomically an ear. and the heart and its vessels. was almost equally simple. The pulmonary distress caused by the denser atmosphere and greater gravitational attraction was only too evident in the convulsive movements of the outer skin. but at the same time I think that we should remember how repulsive our carnivorous habits would seem to an intelligent rabbit. In the back of this head or body--I scarcely know how to speak of it--was the single tight tympanic surface. The bare idea of this is no doubt horribly repulsive to us. all the complex apparatus of digestion. and tactile tentacles. Even as I saw these Martians for the first time they seemed to be endeavouring to raise themselves on these hands. arranged in two bunches of eight each. Strange as it may seem to a human being. Besides this were the bulky lungs. Let it suffice to say. . Professor Howes. sending enormous nerves to the eyes. squeamish as I may seem. They did not eat. almost whiplike tentacles. But the Martians were lifted above all these organic fluctuations of mood and emotion. or sound gastric glands. occupied in turning heterogeneous food into blood. as I shall mention in its place. . much less digest. were bipeds with flimsy. In a group round the mouth were sixteen slender. Their undeniable preference for men as their source of nourishment is partly explained by the nature of the remains of the victims they had brought with them as provisions from Mars. silicious skeletons (almost like those of the PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. The digestive processes and their reaction upon the nervous system sap our strength and colour our minds.fineprint. Instead. and INJECTED it into their own veins. They were heads--merely heads. living blood of other creatures. . Entrails they had none. did not exist in the Martians. they took the fresh. ear. into which the mouth opened. There is reason to suppose that on Mars they may have progressed upon them with some facility. but of course. in most cases from a human being. I may remark here. These creatures. which makes up the bulk of our bodies. The internal anatomy. by that distinguished anatomist. as dissection has since shown. I cannot bring myself to describe what I could not endure even to continue watching. Men go happy or miserable as they have healthy or unhealthy livers. Our bodies are half made up of glands and tubes and organs.com . I have myself seen this being done. if one thinks of the tremendous waste of human time and energy occasioned by eating and the digestive process. this was impossible. And this was the sum of the Martian organs. and just beneath this a kind of fleshy beak. The physiological advantages of the practice of injection are undeniable. These bunches have since been named rather aptly. with the increased weight of terrestrial conditions.
yet even to the last they kept in action. will enable the reader who is unacquainted with them to form a clearer picture of these offensive creatures. His prophecy. and I recall a caricature of it in a pre-Martian periodical called PUNCH. the perfection of chemical devices. just the reverse has apparently been the case. A young Martian.com . in a long-defunct publication. appeared in November or December. In twenty-four hours they did twenty-four hours of work. and that the tendency of natural selection would lie in the direction of their steady diminution through the coming ages. external nose. any more than the heart of man sleeps. I may add in this place certain further details which. up even to those first cousins of the vertebrated animals. They had little or no sense of fatigue. and all were killed before earth was reached. such a method of increase has disappeared. I remember. but even on this earth it was certainly the primitive method. and chin were no longer essential parts of the human being. and large eyes in flinty sockets. for the mere attempt to stand upright upon our planet would have broken every bone in their bodies. ears. wonderful as it seems in a sexual world. however. And while I am engaged in this description. Among the lower animals. He pointed out-writing in a foolish. It is worthy of remark that a certain speculative writer of quasi-scientific repute. writing long before the Martian invasion. Their organisms did not sleep. In three other points their physiology differed strangely from ours." While the rest of the body dwindled. On earth they could never have moved without effort. partially BUDDED off. as even on earth is perhaps the case with the ants. "teacher and agent of the brain. or like the young animals in the fresh-water polyp. digestion. the Martians were absolutely without sex. in all the higher terrestrial animals. although they were not all evident to us at the time. was really born upon earth during the war. Since they had no extensive muscular mechanism to recuperate. In the next place. the Tunicates. and it was found attached to its parent. The brain alone remained a cardinal necessity. teeth. that periodical extinction was unknown to them. standing about six feet high and having round. the two processes occur side by side. and therefore without any of the tumultuous emotions that arise from that difference among men.fineprint. Two or three of these seem to have been brought in each cylinder. did forecast for man a final structure not unlike the actual Martian condition. the hands would grow larger. Only one other part of the body had a strong case for survival. there can now be no dispute. In man. and here in PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. There is many a true word written in jest. It was just as well for them. 1893. but finally the sexual method superseded its competitor altogether. erect heads. facetious tone--that the perfection of mechanical appliances must ultimately supersede limbs. that such organs as hair.silicious sponges) and feeble musculature. just as young lilybulbs bud off. and that was the hand. it would seem. On Mars. the PALL MALL BUDGET.
The red creeper was quite a transitory growth. five. the red weed grew with astonishing vigour and luxuriance. And afterwards I found it broadcast throughout the country. so far. have either never appeared upon Mars or Martian sanitary science eliminated them ages ago.fineprint. gained any footing in competition with terrestrial forms. without any of the emotional substratum of the human being. a single round drum at the back of the head-body. Only that known popularly as the red weed. is of a vivid blood-red tint. this is asserted.com . in no sense a signal. consumption.the Martians we have beyond dispute the actual accomplishment of such a suppression of the animal side of the organism by the intelligence. in the able but hastily compiled pamphlet (written evidently by someone not an eye-witness of Martian actions) to which I have already alluded. according to Philips. The last salient point in which the systems of these creatures differed from ours was in what one might have thought a very trivial particular. never enter the scheme of their life. instead of having green for a dominant colour. which cause so much disease and pain on earth. all the fevers and contagions of human life. and especially wherever there was a stream of water. and its cactus-like branches formed a carmine fringe to the edges of our triangular window. however. The Martians had what appears to have been an auditory organ. the seeds which the Martians (intentionally or accidentally) brought with them gave rise in all cases to red-coloured growths. And I assert that I watched them closely time after time. Micro-organisms. At any rate. but the fact is so. and was. I believe. It is commonly supposed that they communicated by sounds and tentacular gesticulations. has been the chief source of information concerning them. and in this matter I am convinced--as firmly as I am convinced of anything--that the Martians interchanged thoughts without any physical intermediation. become a mere selfish intelligence. and that I have seen four. of course. by a gradual development of brain and hands (the latter giving rise to the two bunches of delicate tentacles at last) at the expense of the rest of the body. Apparently the vegetable kingdom in Mars. and (once) six of them sluggishly performing the most elaborately complicated operations together without either sound or gesture. A hundred diseases. for instance. Without the body the brain would. tumours and such morbidities. blue and violet were as black to them. To me it is quite credible that the Martians may be descended from beings not unlike ourselves. I take no credit to myself for an accident. and which. I have a certain claim to at least an elementary knowledge of psychology. And speaking of the differences between the life on Mars and terrestrial life. And I have been convinced of this in spite PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. and eyes with a visual range not very different from ours except that. For a time. it had no modulation. cancers. but merely the expiration of air preparatory to the suctional operation. I may allude here to the curious suggestions of the red weed. and few people have seen it growing. Their peculiar hooting invariably preceded feeding. however. It spread up the sides of the pit by the third or fourth day of our imprisonment. Now no surviving human being saw so much of the Martians in action as I did.
Such quasi-muscles abounded in the crablike handling-machine which. but in their apparatus singularly little use is made of the fixed pivot or relatively fixed pivot. the curate reminded me of his presence by pulling violently at my arm. And in this connection it is curious to remark that even on this earth Nature has never hit upon the wheel. or has preferred other expedients to its development. panting. excavating PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. emitting jets of green vapour and working its way round the pit. these disks become polarised and drawn closely and powerfully together when traversed by a current of electricity. our guns and sticks and so forth. but changes of pressure do not seem to have affected their health at all seriously. And while upon this matter of detail. He wanted the slit. The Martians wore no clothing. In this way the curious parallelism to animal motions. and down on the left a busy little digging mechanism had come into view.com . stirring ineffectual tentacles. are just in the beginning of the evolution that the Martians have worked out. One would have at least expected it in locomotion.of strong preconceptions. and so I had to forego watching them for a time while he enjoyed that privilege. While I was still watching their sluggish motions in the sunlight. wearing different bodies according to their needs just as men wear suits of clothes and take a bicycle in a hurry or an umbrella in the wet. It seemed infinitely more alive than the actual Martians lying beyond it in the sunset light. We men. it was in the other artificial additions to their bodily resources that their great superiority over man lay. our Lilienthal soaring-machines.fineprint. with circular motions thereabout confined to one plane. among all the things they brought to earth there is no trace or suggestion of their use of wheels. on my first peeping out of the slit. with our bicycles and road-skates. it is remarkable that the long leverages of their machines are in most cases actuated by a sort of sham musculature of the disks in an elastic sheath. Before the Martian invasion. And of their appliances. and silent. and not only were they evidently much less sensible of changes of temperature than we are. or abstain from. which was so striking and disturbing to the human beholder. They have become practically mere brains. Their conceptions of ornament and decorum were necessarily different from ours. And not only did the Martians either not know of (which is incredible). When I looked again. I turned to a scowling face. I watched unpacking the cylinder. the busy handling-machine had already put together several of the pieces of apparatus it had taken out of the cylinder into a shape having an unmistakable likeness to its own. and moving feebly after their vast journey across space. the wheel. perhaps nothing is more wonderful to a man than the curious fact that what is the dominant feature of almost all human devices in mechanism is absent--the WHEEL is absent. Almost all the joints of the machinery present a complicated system of sliding parts moving over small but beautifully curved friction bearings. as an occasional reader here or there may remember. was attained. I had written with some little vehemence against the telepathic theory. which permitted only one of us to peep through. Yet though they wore no clothing. eloquent lips. and noting each strange detail of their form.
It piped and whistled as it worked. He was as lacking in restraint as a silly woman. And I would sit in the darkness unable to keep my mind off him by reason of his importunities.com . and I verily believe that to the very end this spoiled child of life thought his weak tears in some way efficacious. in spite of the infinite danger in which we were between starvation and a still more terrible death. This it was which had caused the regular beating noise. We would race across the kitchen in a grotesque way between eagerness and the dread of making a noise. and thrust add kick.fineprint. His endless muttering monologue vitiated every effort I made to think out a line of action. and our danger and isolation only accentuated the incompatibility. for to an eye in the dazzle of the sunlight outside our refuge must have been blank blackness. and at last to blows. Yet terrible as was the danger we incurred. hateful souls. and strike each other. So far as I could see. but at first the slightest suggestion of approach drove us into the scullery in heart-throbbing retreat. At a later date we began to feel less in danger of their eyes. void of pride. who face not even themselves. He would weep for hours together. for we feared that from his elevation the Martian might see down upon us behind our barrier. timorous. As the days wore on. and it was in vain I pointed out that our only chance of life was to stop in the house until the Martians had done with their pit. The fact is that we had absolutely incompatible dispositions and habits of thought and action. And I recall now with a sort of wonder that. and drove me at times. who face neither God nor man. almost to the verge of craziness.and embanking in a methodical and discriminating manner. anaemic. that in that long patience a time might presently come when we should need food. full of shifty cunning. That brought him to reason for a time. his stupid rigidity of mind. But he was one of those weak creatures. He ate and drank impulsively in heavy meals at long intervals. Those PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. his utter carelessness of any consideration so intensified our distress and danger that I had. He ate more than I did. within a few inches of exposure. much as I loathed doing it. CHAPTER THREE THE DAYS OF IMPRISONMENT The arrival of a second fighting-machine drove us from our peephole into the scullery. and the rhythmic shocks that had kept our ruinous refuge quivering. At Halliford I had already come to hate the curate's trick of helpless exclamation. thus pent up and intensified. to resort to threats. but I set them down that my story may lack nothing. the thing was without a directing Martian at all. It is disagreeable for me to recall and write these things. we could yet struggle bitterly for that horrible privilege of sight. the attraction of peeping was for both of us irresistible. He slept little.
but not what is possible to tortured men. In another second it had lifted a bar of white aluminium into sight. and from which a stream of white powder flowed into a circular basin below. while with another arm it periodically opened a door and removed rusty and blackened clinkers from the middle part of the machine.who have escaped the dark and terrible aspects of life will find my brutality. untarnished as yet. gesticulating. The oscillatory motion was imparted to this by one tentacle of the handling-machine. without. and I rose up. and gripping hands and blows. He made a sudden movement backward. the handling-machine. I was sitting below. was the strange wonder. From this unseen receiver a little thread of green smoke rose vertically into the quiet air.com . huddled up. and was busied in serving one of the novel contrivances the big machine had brought. and deposited it in a growing stack of bars that stood at the side of the pit. The curate had possession of the slit when the first men were brought to the pit. telescopic fashion. and shining dazzlingly. inarticulate. As I looked. These last had brought with them certain fresh appliances that stood in an orderly manner about the cylinder. After a long time I ventured back to the peephole. listening with all my ears. stepped across him. my flash of rage in our final tragedy. and for a moment I shared his panic. dim contest of whispers. until its end was hidden behind the mound of clay. And while within we fought out our dark. crouched in a spasm of terror. extended. Between sunset and starlight this dexterous machine must have made more than a hundred such bars out of the crude clay. above which oscillated a pear-shaped receptacle. and for days I had to tell myself repeatedly that these latter were indeed the living of the two things. snatched food and drink. With two spatulate hands the handling-machine was digging out and flinging masses of clay into the pear-shaped receptacle above. with a faint and musical clinking. will have a wider charity. The second handling-machine was now completed. His gesture suggested a resignation of the slit. This was a body resembling a milk can in its general form. who have gone down at last to elemental things. and after a little while my curiosity gave me courage. Let me return to those first new experiences of mine. the unfamiliar routine of the Martians in the pit. easy enough to blame. and PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. for they know what is wrong as well as any. and the mound of bluish dust rose steadily until it topped the side of the pit. and I. Another steely tentacle directed the powder from the basin along a ribbed channel towards some receiver that was hidden from me by the mound of bluish dust. fearful that we were observed. He came sliding down the rubbish and crept beside me in the darkness. But those who have been under the shadow. The contrast between the swift and complex movements of these contrivances and the inert panting clumsiness of their masters was acute.fineprint. to find that the new-comers had been reinforced by the occupants of no fewer than three of the fightingmachines. a tentacle that had been a moment before a mere blunt projection. in the pitiless sunlight of that terrible June.
and abbreviated. As the green flames lifted I could see the oily gleam of his integument and the brightness of his eyes. I found. but afterwards. stood across the corner of the pit. The twilight had now come. It grew upon my mind. I was able to consider our position with great clearness. For an instant he was clearly visible. Our chief chance lay in the possibility of the Martians making the pit nothing more than a temporary encampment. a black. and a fighting-machine. Then something--something struggling violently--was lifted high against the sky. who had been crouching silently with his arms over his head. balanced between our horror and the terrible fascination this peeping had. The sprawling Martians were no longer to be seen. I slid down the rubbish. and for a moment there was silence. Or even if they kept it permanently. And I should have had to do all the digging myself. but the chances of our emerging within sight of some sentinel fighting-machine seemed at first too great. was quite incapable of discussion. vague enigma against the starlight. they might not consider it necessary to guard it. watching this fighting-machine closely. The whole picture was a flickering scheme of green gleams and shifting rusty black shadows. And suddenly I heard a yell. crumpled. amid the clangour of the machinery. he must have been walking the world. I gripped myself with both hands. came a drifting suspicion of human voices. cried out quite loudly at my desertion of him. The curate. the stars were little and faint. that terrible as our position was. there was as yet no justification for absolute despair. and saw a long tentacle reaching over the shoulder of the machine to the little cage that hunched upon its back. middle-aged man. well dressed. and came running after me. Over and through it all went the bats. But as the saying goes. The curate. struggled to my feet. once I could face the facts. strangely trying to the eyes. The curate PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www.clambered up to it. as we lurked in the scullery. satisfying myself now for the first time that the hood did indeed contain a Martian.fineprint. clapped my hands over my ears. I also weighed very carefully the possibility of our digging a way out in a direction away from the pit. At first I could see no reason for his frantic behaviour. ruddy. the mound of blue-green powder had risen to cover them from sight. I could see his staring eyes and gleams of light on his studs and watch chain. and as this black object came down again. I crouched. He vanished behind the mound. this new and culminating atrocity had robbed him of all vestiges of reason or forethought. Practically he had already sunk to the level of an animal. looked up as I passed. three days before. and a chance of escape might be afforded us. I saw by the green brightness that it was a man. He was a stout. And then began a shrieking and a sustained and cheerful hooting from the Martians. And then.com . and bolted into the scullery. a man of considerable consequence. That night. although I felt an urgent need of action I tried in vain to conceive some plan of escape. that I entertained at first only to dismiss. with its legs contracted. heeding it not at all. during the second day. but the pit was illuminated by the flickering green fire that came from the aluminium-making.
and I did not dare continue. and my fingers caught a bottle of burgundy. save for one planet. and that familiar sound it was that made me listen. having no spirit even to move. but when I had made a hole about a couple of feet deep the loose earth collapsed noisily. and the moon was shining brightly. That night was a beautiful serenity. We stood panting and threatening each other. The Martians had taken away the excavatingmachine. The bottle struck the floor and broke. and I desisted and rose. and lay down on the scullery floor for a long time. and presently found myself alone. if my memory serves me right. I heard a dog howling. For a few minutes there was a tussle. and after a long interval six again. and told him of my determination to begin a discipline. And after that I abandoned altogether the idea of escaping by excavation. After that experience I avoided the hole in the wall for the better part of a day. It was on the third day. I divided the food in the pantry. the moon seemed to have the sky to herself. I would not PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. It says much for the impression the Martians had made upon me that at first I entertained little or no hope of our escape being brought about by their overthrow through any human effort. the curate had gone back into the scullery. I went into the scullery. the place was deserted by them. I snatched in the darkness. CHAPTER FOUR THE DEATH OF THE CURATE It was on the sixth day of our imprisonment that I peeped for the last time. I was struck by a sudden thought. It was the only occasion on which I actually saw the Martians feed. Then I heard quite distinctly a booming exactly like the sound of great guns.fineprint. Six distinct reports I counted.com . In the end I planted myself between him and the food. quite still. except for the clinking of the handling-machine. into rations to last us ten days. that I saw the lad killed. Instead of keeping close to me and trying to oust me from the slit. Except for the pale glow from the handling-machine and the bars and patches of white moonlight the pit was in darkness. And that was all. But on the fourth or fifth night I heard a sound like heavy guns. and. and. It was very late in the night. save for a fighting-machine that stood in the remoter bank of the pit and a handling-machine that was buried out of my sight in a corner of the pit immediately beneath my peephole. In the darkness I heard the curate drinking. removed the door. I went back quickly and quietly into the scullery.would certainly have failed me. and spent some hours digging with my hatchet as silently as possible. I lost heart.
and I held my peace. but to me it seemed--it seems now--an interminable length of time. although I felt no assurance that he might not do this thing. and he weeping and complaining of his immediate hunger. I defied him. entreaties. On me and mine be the punishment laid. I preached acceptable folly--my God.com . so loudly that I must needs make him desist. and nothing I could do would moderate his speech. he did not. From certain vague memories I am inclined to think my own mind wandered at times. "Be still!" I implored. For a time that scared me. In the afternoon he made a feeble effort to get at the food. "It is just. O God!" he would say. ! The wine press of God!" Then he would suddenly revert to the matter of the food I withheld from him. through the greater part of the eighth and ninth days-threats. There was poverty. I weary but resolute. he was indeed beyond reason. at last threatening. times when I cajoled and persuaded him. mingled with a torrent of half-sane and always frothy repentance for his vacant sham of God's service. though I died for it. The rudimentary precautions to keep our imprisonment endurable he would not observe. I had strange and hideous dreams whenever I slept. He perceived a hold on me--he threatened he would shout and bring the Martians upon us. Slowly I began to realise the complete overthrow of his intelligence. at any rate.let him eat any more that day. PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. Oppressors of the poor and needy . For two vast days we struggled in undertones and wrestling contests. the poor were trodden in the dust. for there was a rain-water pump from which I could get water. But neither force nor kindness availed. . Then he slept awhile. . On the eighth day he began to talk aloud instead of whispering. but I am inclined to think that the weakness and insanity of the curate warned me. And so our widened incompatibility ended at last in open conflict.fineprint. We have sinned. a night and a day. He began to raise his voice--I prayed him not to. All day and all night we sat face to face. I know. such as made me pity him. and once I tried to bribe him with the last bottle of burgundy. we have fallen short. sorrow. . It was. praying. He would neither desist from his attacks on the food nor from his noisy babbling to himself. begging. over and over again. to perceive that my sole companion in this close and sickly darkness was a man insane. but any concession would have shortened our chance of escape beyond estimating. for he had been sitting in the darkness near the copper. He talked with his voice rising slowly. "It is just. and called upon them to repent-repent! . and began again with renewed strength. braced me. I had been dozing. but in an instant I was awake. weeping. It sounds paradoxical. But that day. what folly! --when I should have stood up. He rose to his knees. . There were times when I beat and kicked him madly. and kept me a sane man.
Irresistibly attracted. and the large dark eyes of a Martian. another limb appeared. I crept to the door and peeped into the kitchen. Then I saw through a sort of glass plate near the edge of the body the face. hoarse cry. and the triangular aperture in the wall was darkened. the run and smash of slipping plaster. and listening. Woe unto this unfaithful city! Woe! Woe! Woe! Woe! Woe! To the inhabitants of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet----" "Shut up!" I said. Had the Martian seen me? What was it doing now? Something was moving to and fro there. I forced myself across the scullery. rising to my feet. and stopped at the scullery door. and stood there in the darkness staring at the faintly lit doorway into the kitchen. and in a terror lest the Martians should hear us. like the movements of keys on a split-ring. In a flash I was after him." I go! It has already been too long I put out my hand and felt the meat chopper hanging to the wall. For a while I stood fascinated by that slow. "For God's sake----" "Nay. scrutinizing the curate's head. "Speak! The word of the Lord is upon me!" In three strides he was at the door leading into the kitchen. I stood petrified. "and now I must bear my witness. staring." he said. standing likewise and extending his arms. I thought at once that it would infer my presence from the mark of the blow I had given him. at the top of his voice. PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. I opened the door of the coal cellar. He went headlong forward and lay stretched on the ground. I looked up and saw the lower surface of a handling-machine coming slowly across the hole. Then." shouted the curate. every now and then it tapped against the wall. stumbled over the curate. feeling its way over the fallen beams.com . this way and that. Then a heavy body--I knew too well what--was dragged across the floor of the kitchen towards the opening. I stumbled over him and stood panting. With one last touch of humanity I turned the blade back and struck him with the butt. or started on its movements with a faint metallic ringing. peering. with queer sudden movements. with a faint. as we may call it. I turned by an effort. Before he was halfway across the kitchen I had overtaken him. One of its gripping limbs curled amid the debris. in the room. Suddenly I heard a noise without. I trembled violently. The tentacle was now some way. in a tone that must have reached the pit.fineprint. I could scarcely stand upright. "I must bear my witness! delayed. In the triangle of bright outer sunlight I saw the Martian. He lay still."I have been still too long. and twisting and turning. in its Briareus of a handling-machine. I was fierce with fear. fitful advance. very quietly. two yards or more. and then a long metallic snake of tentacle came feeling slowly through the hole.
It passed. I seized the opportunity of slightly shifting my position. Every now and then I paused. I was on the verge of screaming. even. It came day in the not daring It was the security. I prayed copiously. In the darkness I could just see the thing--like an elephant's trunk more than anything else--waving towards me and touching and examining the wall. buried among coals and firewood. perhaps. Presently I heard it nearer--in the scullery.I crept back to the coal cellar. Apparently it had taken a lump of coal to examine. I bit my hand. it gripped something--I thought it had me!--and seemed to go out of the cellar again. and then the door opened. Then I heard the slow. even to crawl out for the drink for which I craved. Once. into the scullery no more. and then listened. I whispered passionate prayers for safety. slowly it drew near. it touched the heel of my boot. eleventh day before I ventured so far from my CHAPTER FIVE PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. and began to cover myself up as much as I could. For a minute I was not sure. shut the door. and as noiselessly as possible in the darkness. It was like a black worm swaying its blind head to and fro. An age of almost intolerable suspense intervened. scratching against the walls and tapping the furniture. but I lay all the tenth close darkness.com . coals. I could have fancied it had been withdrawn. rigid. and the biscuit-tins rattled and a bottle smashed. Presently.fineprint. which had become cramped. wood and ceiling. and then came a heavy bump against the cellar door. among the firewood and coal therein. scraping faintly across the cellar door. For a time the tentacle was silent. Had it gone? At last I decided that it had. deliberate sound creeping towards me again. it rapped smartly against the cellar door and closed it. as I judged. with an abrupt click. then I heard it fumbling at the latch! It had found the door! The Martians understood doors! It worried at the catch for a minute. I thought that its length might be insufficient to reach me. Slowly. While I was still doubtful. Then silence that passed into an infinity of suspense. I traced it slowly feeling over the kitchen. Then the faint metallic jingle returned. to hear if the Martian had thrust its tentacles through the opening again. I heard it go into the pantry.
Going into the kitchen. I did not feel strong enough to crawl noiselessly to the peephole. lest his actions attracted the attention of the Martians. On the fourteenth day I went into the kitchen. in a rambling. perhaps. but. it would be advisable to kill him. It was early on the fifteenth day that I heard a curious. Apparently. but he suddenly withdrew his head and disappeared. to kill and eat him. At the scent of me he barked shortly.THE STILLNESS My first act before I went into the pantry was to fasten the door between the kitchen and the scullery. I thought much of the curate and of the manner of his death. I saw a dog's nose peering in through a break among the ruddy fronds. But the pantry was empty. turning the half-light of the place into a crimson-coloured obscurity. and in any case. I thought if I could induce him to come into the place quietly I should be able. the Martian had taken it all on the previous day. On the twelfth day my throat was so painful that. saying "Good dog!" very softly. and emboldened by the fact that no enquiring tentacle followed the noise of my pumping. and I was surprised to find that the fronds of the red weed had grown right across the hole in the wall. every scrap of food had gone. familiar sequence of sounds in the kitchen. PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. At first my mouth and throat were parched. but that was all.fineprint. At that discovery I despaired for the first time. I felt a keen pain that urged me to drink again and again. or no drink either. identified it as the snuffing and scratching of a dog. To my disordered imagination it seemed the colour of blood. I listened--I was not deaf--but certainly the pit was still. I sat about in the darkness of the scullery. inconclusive way. in a state of despondent wretchedness. I took no food. I thought I had become deaf. I crept forward. but red. I heard a sound like the flutter of a bird's wings. of the death of the curate. Whenever I dozed I dreamt of horrible phantasms. and. taking the chance of alarming the Martians. listening. During these days. on the eleventh or the twelfth day. I was greatly refreshed by this. and dozed and thought disjointedly of eating and of vague impossible plans of escape. The light that came into the scullery was no longer grey. asleep or awake. or of sumptuous dinners. for the noises of movement I had been accustomed to hear from the pit had ceased absolutely. and got a couple of glassfuls of blackened and tainted rain water. On the thirteenth day I drank some more water.com . and my strength ebbed sensibly. and a hoarse croaking. My mind ran on eating. I attacked the creaking rain-water pump that stood by the sink. or I would have gone there. This greatly surprised me.
All the machinery had gone. Below me was the great pit. At length. I could see in any direction save behind me. scarcely believing my eyes. interspersed with abundant shady trees. encouraged by the silence. but further a network of red thread scaled the still living stems.com . with the crows struggling for its refuse. And oh! the sweetness confinement. to the north. Far away I saw a gaunt cat slink crouchingly along a wall. but a little way along the rubbish afforded a practicable slope to the summit of the ruins. their walls stood. gentle breeze unoccupied of the air! CHAPTER SIX PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www.For a long while I lay close to the peephole. and there were more birdlike sounds. clay. My chance of escape had come. too. I scrambled to the top of the mound in which I had been buried so long. Except in the corner. I looked about again. and with a heart that throbbed violently. Slowly I thrust myself out through the red weed. The day seemed. sometimes to the second story. A number of other birds hopped about among the ruins. with smashed windows and shattered doors. but that was all. by contrast with my recent dazzlingly bright. the place was merely an empty circular pit in the sand. the black birds. Now I stood on a mound of smashed brickwork. and neither Martians nor sign of Martians were to be seen. I hesitated for some time. and then. was visible. To the northward. I began to tremble. The trees near me were dead and brown. in a gust of desperate resolution. and stood upon the mound of rubble. I stared about me. certain bars of aluminium in another. no Martian When I had last seen this part of Sheen in the daylight it had been a straggling street of comfortable white and red houses. The red weed grew tumultuously in their roofless rooms. I looked out. knee-high. A kept the red weed that covered every scrap of ground gently swaying. but traces of men there were none. over which spread a multitude of red cactus-shaped plants.fineprint. the sky a glowing blue. The neighbouring houses had all been wrecked. The pit dropped sheerly from my feet. there was not a living thing in the pit. and the skeletons of the killed. Save for the big mound of greyish-blue powder in one corner. Once or twice I heard a faint pitter-patter like the feet of the dog going hither and thither on the sand far below me. where a multitude of crows hopped and fought over the skeletons of the dead the Martians had consumed. but not daring to move aside the red plants that obscured it. and gravel. without a solitary terrestrial growth to dispute their footing. but none had been burned.
So I went along by the side of it. At Putney. and sometimes neck-deep. under the Martian heel. The density of the weed gave me a reassuring sense of hiding. a couple of gladiolus bulbs. a patch of garden ground unburied. weird and lurid. yet one that the poor brutes we dominate know only too well. as soon and as far as my strength permitted. In the direction away from the pit I saw. in the red weed. I felt as a rabbit might feel returning to his burrow and suddenly confronted by the work of a dozen busy navvies digging the foundations of a house. and came to a corner and a rockwork that enabled me to get to the top. Its seeds were simply poured down into the water of the Wey and Thames. as I afterwards saw. too. had not anticipated this startling vision of unfamiliar things.fineprint. to lurk and watch. and a quantity of immature carrots. and I went knee-deep. Here I found some young onions. Directly this extraordinary growth encountered water it straightway became gigantic and of unparalleled fecundity. beyond a red-covered wall. and. but an animal among the animals. and then I came upon a brown sheet of flowing shallow water. all of which I secured. the fear and empire of man had passed away. dry summer. scrambling over a ruined wall. and my dominant motive became the hunger of my long and dismal fast. The wall was some six feet high. a persuasion that I was no longer a master. With us it would be as with them. For that moment I touched an emotion beyond the common range of men. I felt the first inkling of a thing that presently grew quite clear in my mind. These fragments of nourishment served only to whet my hunger. a sense of dethronement. and tumble into the garden I coveted. Within that noisome den from which I had emerged I had thought with a narrow intensity only of our immediate security. and to limp. This gave me a hint. and when I attempted to clamber it I found I could not lift my feet to the crest. the bridge was almost lost in a tangle of this weed.THE WORK OF FIFTEEN DAYS For some time I stood tottering on the mound regardless of my safety. At first I was surprised at this flood in a hot. to run and hide. in a grassy place.com . Some way farther. But so soon as this strangeness had been realised it passed. and at Richmond. but afterwards I discovered that it was caused by the tropical exuberance of the red weed. where meadows used to be. I had not realised what had been happening to the world. and its swiftly growing and Titanic water fronds speedily choked both those rivers. that oppressed me for many days. the Thames water poured in a broad and shallow stream across PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. I had expected to see Sheen in ruins-I found about me the landscape. was a group of mushrooms which also I devoured. out of this accursed unearthly region of the pit. of another planet. went on my way through scarlet and crimson trees towards Kew-it was like walking through an avenue of gigantic blood drops--possessed with two ideas: to get more food.
I hunted for food among the trees. there was nothing to be got from them. whose margin I explored. desolate ruins. gnawed some fronds of red weed. blackened. PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. where I think the Heat-Ray must have been used for some reason. But though I gnawed parts of these in my mouth. I encountered a couple of hungry-looking dogs. In the end the red weed succumbed almost as quickly as it had spread. but the red weed rotted like a thing already dead. And in the garden beyond Roehampton I got a quantity of immature potatoes. but skeletons. and down the hill the sheets of the flooded river. and much of the desolation the Martians had caused was concealed. red-tinged with the weed. My first act on coming to this water was. The red weed was less abundant. and had a sickly. sufficient to stay my hunger. too fatigued to push on. but the flood evidently got deeper towards the river. They broke off at the least touch. and no signs of the Martians. and so presently I got out of this spate and made my way to the hill going up towards Roehampton and came out on Putney Common. until the ruined villas of the Thames valley were for a time lost in this red swamp. and in a few score yards I would come upon perfectly undisturbed spaces. From this garden one looked down upon Putney and the river. As the water spread the weed followed them. finding nothing. in my enfeebled condition. metallic taste. picked clean--and in the wood by me I found the crushed and scattered bones of several cats and rabbits and the skull of a sheep. I found the water was sufficiently shallow for me to wade securely. I drank a great deal of it and. Now by the action of natural selection. or as if their inhabitants slept within. as if they had been left for a day by the owners. I rested for the remainder of the daylight in a shrubbery. due. to slake my thirst. moved by an impulse. but they were watery.the meadows of Hampton and Twickenham. All this time I saw no human beings. and the waters that had stimulated their early growth carried their last vestiges out to sea. A cankering disease. The aspect of the place in the dusk was singularly desolate: blackened trees. and then shrivelled and brittle. of course. Here the scenery changed from the strange and unfamiliar to the wreckage of the familiar: patches of ground exhibited the devastation of a cyclone. The fronds became bleached. but they had already been broken into and ransacked. although the red weed impeded my feet a little. and I also raided a couple of silent houses. but both hurried circuitously away from the advances I made them. I managed to make out the road by means of occasional ruins of its villas and fences and lamps. and I turned back to Mortlake. houses with their blinds trimly drawn and doors closed. all terrestrial plants have acquired a resisting power against bacterial diseases--they never succumb without a severe struggle. to the action of certain bacteria. Near Roehampton I had seen two human skeletons-not bodies. being. it is believed.fineprint. the tall trees along the lane were free from the red creeper. After sunset I struggled on along the road towards Putney.com . presently seized upon it.
I saw myself then as I see myself now. but filled my pockets. yet the memory.And over all--silence. grew clear again. fearing some Martian might come beating that part of London for food in the night. For a time I believed that mankind had been swept out of existence. As I proceeded I became more and more convinced that the extermination of mankind was. by the food I had eaten. the last man left alive. sleeping in a made bed for the first time since my flight to Leatherhead. The Martians. the creature of a sequence of accidents leading inevitably to that. and prowled from window to window. I felt no condemnation. In the bar I afterwards found some biscuits and sandwiches that had been overlooked. I thought. until just on the verge of despair. I will not tell the needless trouble I had breaking into that house--afterwards I found the front door was on the latch--nor how I ransacked every room for food. and the possible fate of my wife. but the former not only stayed my hunger. the whereabouts of the Martians. reinforced. with the arms dislocated and removed several yards from the rest of the body.fineprint. and I thought. with that sense of the nearness of God that sometimes comes into the stillness and the darkness. PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. in what seemed to me to be a servant's bedroom. Perhaps even now they were destroying Berlin or Paris. I saw it simply as a thing done. Before I went to bed I had an interval of restlessness. Three things struggled for possession of my mind: the killing of the curate. I suppose.com . had gone on and left the country desolated. for that moment of wrath and fear. In the silence of the night. already accomplished in this part of the world. I slept little. they were too rotten. peering out for some sign of these monsters. The latter I could not eat. During all the intervening time my mental condition had been a hurrying succession of vague emotional states or a sort of stupid receptivity. Hard by the top of Putney Hill I came upon another skeleton. I retraced every step of our conversation from the moment when I had found him crouching beside me. and that I stood there alone. I lit no lamps. I found a ratgnawed crust and two tins of pineapple. static. But in the night my brain. or it might be they had gone northward. unprogressive. It filled me with indescribable terror to think how swiftly that desolating change had come. seeking food elsewhere. CHAPTER SEVEN THE MAN ON PUTNEY HILL I spent that night in the inn that stands at the top of Putney Hill. my only trial. As I lay in bed I found myself thinking consecutively--a thing I do not remember to have done since my last argument with the curate. The place had been already searched and emptied. haunted me. driven step by step towards that hasty blow. a memory infinitely disagreeable but quite without the quality of remorse. The former gave me no sensation of horror or remorse to recall. save for such stragglers as myself. I stood my trial.
under cover of a thicket of trees and bushes. crept out of the house like a rat leaving its hiding place--a creature scarcely larger. I. New Malden.com . an inferior animal. with a smashed wheel and an abandoned tin trunk. turning suddenly. Certainly. Surely. We had been incapable of co-operation--grim chance had taken no heed of that. that my heart ached for her and the world of men. and the eastern sky glowed pink. And when. I knew I wanted to find my wife. my cousins and she would have fled thence. and at the top of West Hill a lot of blood-stained glass about the overturned water trough. face to face with the darkness of God. From the corner I went. if we have learned nothing else. Had I foreseen. but now I prayed indeed. and crime is to foresee and do. flooding it all with light and vitality. on the verge of the open. I stopped to look at them. fetish prayers. In the road that runs from the top of Putney Hill to Wimbledon was a number of poor vestiges of the panic torrent that must have poured Londonward on the Sunday night after the fighting began. And suddenly that night became terrible. and the reader must form his judgment as he will. a thing that for any passing whim of our masters might be hunted and killed. I faced the problem of the Martians and the fate of my wife. hesitating. I should have left him at Halliford. and so. But I set it down. stretching wide and far. I had set aside that picture of a prostrate body. Since the night of my return from Leatherhead I had not prayed. And I set this down as I have set all this story down. as it was. The morning was bright and fine. Greengrocer. but I had no clear idea how the finding might be done. Perhaps they also prayed confidently to God. I had uttered prayers. My movements were languid. the sun rose. I could imagine a hundred things. who had talked with God. there was no red weed to be seen. I had an idea of going to Leatherhead. that so soon as dawn had come.fineprint. though I knew that there I had the poorest chance of finding my wife. unhappily. But I did not foresee. with an odd PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. but it seemed to me I might find or learn there whither the Surrey people had fled. had prayed as heathens mutter charms when I was in extremity. Strange night! Strangest in this. my plans of the vaguest. by an effort. I found myself praying that the Heat-Ray might have suddenly and painlessly struck her out of being. There were no witnesses--all these things I might have concealed. I could for the latter. I found myself sitting up in bed. and was fretted with little golden clouds. staring at the dark. For the former I had no data. there was a straw hat trampled into the now hardened mud. and as I prowled. pleading steadfastly and sanely. and pointing to the fire and smoke that streamed up from the ruins of Weybridge. to the edge of Wimbledon Common. And presently. I was also sharply aware now of my intense loneliness.heedless of my thirst. unless death had overtaken them suddenly. That dark expanse was lit in patches by yellow gorse and broom. this war has taught us pity--pity for those witless souls that suffer our dominion. drawing a lesson from their stout resolve to live. I came upon a busy swarm of little frogs in a swampy place among the trees. There was a little two-wheeled cart inscribed with the name of Thomas Lobb.
surveying him. and his face was dark and dirty and sunken. "You are the artilleryman who came into my garden.feeling of being watched." "There try. then started. "One gets to know that birds have shadows these days. "This is my counthis hill down to the river." I said. "Where do you come from?" he said." said I.com . regarding me." he said. and I stopped. for my wife was there. I made a step towards it." "Good luck!" he said.It's not sixteen days altogether--and your hair is grey. All and up to Which way is no food about here. He stood silent and motionless. and it rose up and became a man armed with a cutlass. I approached him slowly. Let us crawl under those bushes and talk. "I have been buried in the ruins of a house thirteen or fourteen days. go to Leatherhead. Nearer. I don't know what has happened. "Since I crawled And you "I think I shall PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. "Only a rook." I said. I stood regarding this. There was a red cut across the lower part of his face. "But they didn't kill everyone. But---. "I don't know. As I drew nearer I perceived he was dressed in clothes as dusty and filthy as my own. "It is you. and looked with a changed expression. "I was buried near the pit the Martians made about their cylinder. he looked. "I come from Mortlake." he said. so that at first I did not recognise him. when I was within ten yards of him." said he." He shot out a pointing finger. "the man from Woking. indeed." he said. weren't killed at Weybridge?" I recognised him at the same moment." "Have you seen any Martians?" I said. are you going?" I answered slowly. And after they went away I got off towards Walton across the fields. There is only food for one." He looked at me doubtfully. This is a bit open. "I crawled up a drain. I beheld something crouching amid a clump of bushes. I have worked my way out and escaped. as though he had been dragged through a culvert. and I took it." He looked over his shoulder suddenly.fineprint. I distinguished the green slime of ditches mixing with the pale drab of dried clay and shiny. I thought. coaly patches. His black hair fell over his eyes. "Stop!" he cried. "We are lucky ones! Fancy YOU!" He put out a hand. "I've no wish to stop about here. and back to Clapham. the edge of the common. His voice was hoarse.
" "How do you know?" said the artilleryman.fineprint. "Something wrong with the gun." I stopped. But---. the sky is alive with their lights. I had still held a vague hope. And besides----" He looked at me. "This isn't a war." He nodded. for we had come to the bushes. "But what if there is? They'll get it right again." Suddenly I recalled the night in the observatory. "After the tenth shot they fired no more--at least. I explained. I sat staring before me. "fly. and sat down." he said. And the night before last"--he stopped and spoke impressively--"it was just a matter of lights." he said. "Aren't you satisfied it IS up with humanity? I am. He repeated his words. They've walked over us. "They've lost ONE--just ONE. They kept on coming. on hands and knees." said the artilleryman. and are learning to fly. And even if "If they can do that PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. "They will. Strange as it may seem." he said." I stared." I went on into a little bower. "It is all over with humanity." I said. but it was something up in the air. By daylight you can't. And they've made their footing good and crippled the greatest power in the world. Nothing's to be done." They carried absolute conviction. These green stars--I've seen none these five or six days. "It's all over.com . "We're beat. And these are only pioneers. He thought." he said. It's like a great city. and in the glare you can just see them moving. Then I saw a couple across Hammersmith way carrying something big. any more than there's war between man and ants. But nearer--I haven't seen them--" (he counted on his fingers) "five days. we're beat.out----" "They've gone away across London. trying in vain to devise some countervailing thought. I had not arrived at this fact--a fact perfectly obvious so soon as he spoke. rather. "Fly!" "Yes. all over there.It will relieve things over here a bit. until the first cylinder came. Hampstead way. but I've no doubt they're falling somewhere every night. The death of that one at Weybridge was an accident. We're down. Of a night. "It never was a war. We're under! We're beat!" I made him no answer. they will simply go round the world. I had kept a lifelong habit of mind. "I guess they've got a bigger camp there. I believe they've built a flying-machine.
" Eh?" I assented. "And what will they do with us?" I said." I said. And losing our heads. Lord! They haven't begun on us yet. cities. And it's the man that keeps on thinking comes through. That's what we are now--just ants. how can it alter the end? It's just men and ants. and then they go out of the way. Very well. So soon as they've settled all our guns and ships. met my eyes. "Food won't last this way. After Weybridge I went south--thinking. and rushing off in crowds to where there wasn't any more safety than where PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. First. "We're eatable ants. I was telling you what I was thinking. and went on: "There's food all about here. "It is. machines. I've been in sight of death once or twice. have wars. I'm not an ornamental soldier. "Here's intelligent things. mineral waters. I saw everyone tracking away south. But they won't keep on doing that. I went for the Martians like a sparrow goes for man. "Not begun." and I turned right back. All that will go. "and it seems they want us for food. death-it's just death." he said. I saw what was up. But I'm not so fond of squealing. If we were the size of ants we might pull through. Well. and halted awkwardly. wines." I said. And I saw one. treading on each other. bolting. "No doubt lots who had money have gone away to France. until the men want them out of the way. "that's what I've been thinking. one day." he said. . All round"--he waved a hand to the horizon--"they're starving in heaps. Canned things in shops.there's a delay. they'll smash us up--ships. picking houses to pieces and routing among the wreckage. spirits. and at the best and worst. Only----" "Yes. "That's what I've been thinking." He saw my face. at present we're caught as we're wanted. guns. He seemed to hesitate whether to apologise. Most of the people were hard at it squealing and exciting themselves. . All that's happened so far is through our not having the sense to keep quiet--worrying them with guns and such foolery. live their lives. picking the best and storing us in cages and things.com . Says I. and smashed our railways. and the water mains and drains are empty. There's the ants builds their cities. and done all the things they are doing over there. they will begin catching us systematic. . I've thought it out. But we're not. A Martian has only to go a few miles to get a crowd on the run.fineprint. then--next. That's what they will start doing in a bit." We sat looking at each other. It's all too bulky to stop. Don't you see that?" "Not begun!" I exclaimed. revolutions. all the order and organisation. That's the first certainty. out by Wandsworth.
too. We've got to learn before we've got a chance. "Eh!" he said." "But if that is so.we were. getting things ready for the rest of their people.com . You're slender. And we've got to live and keep independent while we learn. there won't be any Royal Academy of Arts. And instead of our rushing about blind. I'm getting ready. nations. civilisation. If you've got any drawingroom manners or a dislike to eating peas with a knife or dropping aitches. and stirred profoundly by the man's resolution. And if I'm not mistaken. That game's up. They ain't no further use. I've got it planned. I had my doubts. They haven't any And "I've thought it out. "Well. If it's amusement you're after. We men are beat. It isn't quite according to what a man wants for his species. All these--the sort of people that lived in these houses. We aren't going to be exterminated. That's how I figure it out. and that's what it's got to be." cried I. those who mean to escape their catching must get ready. under their feet. for fear of hitting those who are here. Very likely that's why the cylinders have stopped for a bit. Ugh! Fancy those brown creepers!" "You don't mean to say----" "I do. and all those damn little clerks that used to live down that way--they'd be no good. See! That's what has to be done. we've got to fix ourselves up according to the new state of affairs. eh?" "Go on. That's why I watched you. I tell you. I'm grim set on living. astonished. I didn't know that it was you. PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. and no nice little feeds at restaurants. Mind you. I've thought it out. or getting dynamite on the chance of busting them up. you'll show what insides YOU'VE got. what is there to live for?" The artilleryman looked at me for a moment. I reckon the game is up. We're beat. "But you are a man indeed!" suddenly I gripped his hand. And I don't mean to be caught either. you'd better chuck 'em away. on the howl." "You mean----" "I mean that men like me are going on living--for the sake of the breed. And that's the principle I acted upon.fineprint. progress--it's all over. you see. it isn't all of us that are made for wild beasts." I stared. but it's about what the facts point to. and tamed and fattened and bred like a thundering ox. They're making their things--making all the things they couldn't bring with them. We don't know enough. Cities." I said. "There won't be any more blessed concerts for a million years or so. I'm going on. before long. "Great God!. They don't want to bother us yet. or just how you'd been buried. with his eyes shining.
if they come after me!" and subsided into a grim meditation. not because they wanted them.com . the weak. After a week or so chasing about the fields and lands on empty stomachs. I could find nothing to bring against this man's reasoning. These cages will be full of psalms and hymns and piety. There's hundreds of things I saw with my eyes that I've only begun to see clearly these last few days. careful breeding. "Very likely these Martians will make pets of some of them. working at businesses they were afraid to take the trouble to understand. Nice roomy cages. train them to do tricks--who knows?--get sentimental over the pet boy who grew up and had to be killed. "Lord." "No. And some. and sleeping with the wives they married." he said.fineprint." He paused. And the bar loafers. "that's impossible! No human being----" "What's the good of going on with such lies?" said the artilleryman." I cried. very pious and superior. Now whenever things are so that a lot of people feel they ought to be doing something. they'll come and be caught cheerful. It's energy in a gale of funk. keeping indoors after dinner for fear of the back streets. And on Sundays--fear of the hereafter. the Martians will just be a godsend to these. a professed and recognised writer on PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. Very likely you've seen the same thing. skedaddling back for fear they wouldn't be in time for dinner. fattening food. They'll be quite glad after a bit. for fear they'd get dismissed if they didn't. There's lots will take things as they are--fat and stupid. always make for a sort of do-nothing religion. they will train to hunt us. and that they ought to be doing something. and mashers. and singers--I can imagine them. bit of breakfast in hand. but because they had a bit of money that would make for safety in their one little miserable skedaddle through the world. "There'll be any amount of sentiment and religion loose among them. and a man who hasn't one or the other--Lord! What is he but funk and precautions? They just used to skedaddle off to work--I've seen hundreds of 'em. I can imagine them. What nonsense to pretend there isn't!" And I succumbed to his conviction. and those who go weak with a lot of complicated thinking. and lots will be worried by a sort of feeling that it's all wrong. no worry. They'll wonder what people did before there were Martians to take care of them. "If they come after me. running wild and shining to catch their little season-ticket train. And those of a less simple sort will work in a bit of--what is it?--eroticism. "There's men who'd do it cheerful. and turned clean inside out. Lives insured and a bit invested for fear of accidents.spirit in them--no proud dreams and no proud lusts. and submit to persecution and the will of the Lord. with a sort of sombre gratification. I sat contemplating these things. As if hell was built for rabbits! Well. In the days before the invasion no one would have questioned my intellectual superiority to his--I. maybe." he said.
Weaklings go out again. It's saving our knowledge and adding to it is the thing. Able-bodied. You see. Then there's cellars. and I'll make it clearer what I think ought to be done. Play cricket. Especially we must keep up our science-learn more. It's a sort of disloyalty. Some of us must go as spies. I know. we clear out." "As you meant me to go?" "Well--l parleyed. That's how we shall save the race. . "Well. perhaps. The main drains are big enough and airy enough for anyone. clean-minded men. but under this London are miles and miles--hundreds of miles--and a few days" rain and London empty will leave them sweet and clean. from which bolting passages may be made to the drains. Yes. in a few generations they'll be big. Life is real again. They ought to be willing to die. Go on. beautiful. dying's none so dreadful. We can't have any weak or silly. . And we may even be able to keep a watch. not novels and poetry swipes. We're not going to pick up any rubbish that drifts in. that's only being rats. and he. Moreover. savage rat.philosophical themes. As I say. . but ideas. it's the funking makes it bad." "What plans "Those who stop obey orders. after all.fineprint. perhaps I will. And they can't be happy. That's where men like you come in. didn't I?" "We won't quarrel about that. vaults. We must make great safe places down deep. I've been thinking about the drains. and they won't PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. Yes--wait a bit. Of course those who don't know drains think horrible things. stupid--rubbish! The risk is that we who keep wild will go savage--degenerate into a sort of big. and run about in the open when the Martians keep away. a common soldier. If we get in their way. and yet he had already formulated a situation that I had scarcely realised. "What have we to do? We have to invent a sort of life where men can live and breed.com . There men like you come in. "What are you doing?" I said presently. And in all those places we shall gather. We must go to the British Museum and pick all those books through. And the great thing is." he said. stores. clean-minded women we want also--mothers and teachers. how I mean to live is underground. to live and taint the race. And the railway tunnels and subways. and be sufficiently secure to bring the children up. Eh? It's a possible thing? But saving the race is nothing in itself. We must watch these Martians. Eh? You begin to see? And we form a band--able-bodied. and the useless and cumbersome and mischievous have to die. We mustn't even steal. When it's all working. we must leave the Martians alone. and get all the books we can. science books. Our district will be London. have you made?" He hesitated. rich-blooded. Get caught. We must show them we mean no harm. But they're intelligent things. it's like this. There's books. They ought to die. The tame ones will go like all tame beasts. I mean. there's models. No lackadaisical ladies--no blasted rolling eyes.
swish! Just as they are fumbling over it. We had a garden barrow and shot the earth we removed against the kitchen range. so glad was I to find myself with a purpose again. with its Heat-Ray wide and free! Fancy having it in control! What would it matter if you smashed to smithereens at the end of the run. and not a Martian in 'em. and the reader who thinks me susceptible and foolish must contrast his position. It seemed to me. the chances we had of missing it altogether. after a bust like that? I reckon the Martians'll open their beautiful eyes! Can't you see them. distracted by apprehension. We refreshed ourselves with a tin of mockturtle soup and wine from the neighbouring pantry. too. It may be in my time. Fancy having one of them lovely things. and the tone of assurance and courage he assumed. I turned his project over in my mind. and later crept out of the bushes. and presently objections and doubts began to arise. it may not be so much we may have to learn before-. which he designed to reach to the main drain on Putney Hill--I had my first inkling of the gulf between his dreams and his powers. and mine. completely dominated my mind. rattle. As we worked. I found a curious relief from the aching strangeness of the world in this steady labour. when it was possible to get into the drain at once down one of the manholes." The artilleryman paused and laid a brown hand upon my arm. that the house was inconveniently chosen. even-those men. and when I saw the work he had spent a week upon--it was a burrow scarcely ten yards long. "We're working well. and required a needless length of tunnel." he said. bang. and looked at me. crouching fearfully in the bushes and listening. but men--men who have learned the way how.Just imagine this: four or five of their fighting machines suddenly starting off--Heat-Rays right and left. after scanning the sky for Martians. and.com . man? Can't you see them hurrying. behold! man has come back to his own. After working an hour I began to speculate on the distance one had to go before the cloaca was reached. Such a hole I could have dug in a day. I believed unhesitatingly both in his forecast of human destiny and in the practicability of his astonishing scheme. hurried precipitately to the house on Putney Hill where he had made his lair. and work back to the house. hurrying--puffing and blowing and hooting to their other mechanical affairs? Something out of gear in every case.hunt us down if they have all they want. the artilleryman stopped digging.fineprint. My immediate trouble was why we should dig this long tunnel. and. And just as I was beginning to face these things. We talked in this manner through the early morning time. He put down his spade." For a while the imaginative daring of the artilleryman. SWISH comes the Heat-Ray. reading steadily with all his thoughts about his subject. "After all. And swish. "Let us knock off a bit" he said. but I worked there all the morning. Not a Martian in 'em. and think we're just harmless vermin. "I think it's time we recon- PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. But I believed in him sufficiently to work with him all that morning until past midday at his digging. It was the coal cellar of the place.
and slipped down under shelter of the parapet. green and brilliant into the sunlight.com . laburnums. And I noted that now there was no question "I was coming back. I stopped. It's safer PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. snowballs. "Why were you walking about the common. rose out of laurels and hydrangeas." I was no longer disposed to object.fineprint. and there was all Regent Street and the Circus ablaze. The artilleryman began to tell me of the sort of people who still remained in London. and picked up nearly a hundred too drunk or frightened to run away. A man who was there told me. and in a flash I saw the man plain. Beyond Kensington dense smoke was rising. "One night last week. and we ventured out on the tiles. one can't always work." he said. dancing and shouting till dawn. men and women. and after a little hesitation he resumed his spade. "some fools got the electric light in order. he came round to his grandiose plans again. and then suddenly I was struck by a thought. and their branches stretched gaunt and dead. I could divine the stress he laid on doing nothing precipitately. We went together to the roof and stood on a ladder peeping out of the roof door. and trees of arborvitae." I said." I was for going on. He came down the road towards them. It was strange how entirely dependent both these things were upon flowing water for their propagation. And as the day came they became aware of a fighting-machine standing near by the Langham and looking down at them. It must have given some of them a nasty turn. but we could see the river below. by night. From this position a shrubbery hid the greater portion of Putney. "because if any come near they may hear the spades and drop upon us unawares. holding his spade. and the low parts of Lambeth flooded and red. and that and a blue haze hid the northward hills. The red creeper swarmed up the trees about the old palace. He grew enthusiastic. from amid its clusters. and so did he at once. But now that I was beginning to understand something of his quality. About us neither had gained a footing. a bubbly mass of red weed. Heaven knows how long he had been there." he said." he said. and set with shrivelled leaves. No Martians were to be seen." "But the work?" "Oh. "instead of being here?" "Taking the air. He talked so eloquently of the possibility of capturing a fightingmachine that I more than half believed in him again." he said. He hesitated." Grotesque gleam of a time no history will ever fully describe! From that.noitred from the roof of the house. "We ought to reconnoitre now. crowded with painted and ragged drunkards. pink mays. in answer to my questions.
Neither of us seemed disposed to resume digging. He was still optimistic. we supped. and went upstairs to look at the lights of which he had spoken that blazed so greenly along the Highgate hills. proposed in a speech of small variety and considerable intermittence. awoke again. After a time we went down to the cellar. We lit these. he insisted upon playing cards after we had eaten. Look at these blistered hands!" And pursuant to this idea of a holiday. and then gazed long and earnestly at the darkness of Hampstead and Highgate. I remember he wound up with my health. Grotesque and foolish as this will seem to the sober reader. and I beat him at three tough chess games. and his optimism glowed. and when we had eaten he went away and returned with some excellent cigars. and then I knew that it must be the red weed from which this faint irradiation proceeded. After an interminable string of games. violet-purple fluorescent glow. and after dividing London between us. He taught me euchre. I was nothing loath. Afterwards he taught me poker. a more thoughtful optimism." said he.that he personally was to capture and fight the great machine. and what is more remarkable. a pale. it is absolutely true. We went on smoking the cigars. Champagne! Great God! We've a heavy enough task before us! Let us take a rest and gather strength while we may. and playing the "joker" with vivid delight. my sense of the proportion of things. and lit a lamp. He was inclined to regard my coming as a great occasion. and now and then an orange-red tongue of flame flashed up and vanished in the deep blue night. but it was a less kinetic. All the rest of London was black. With that realisation my dormant sense of wonder. with no clear prospect before us but the chance of a horrible death. we played for parish points.fineprint. glowing high in the west. the fires near Kensington glowed redly. PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. "There's some champagne in the cellar. When dark came we decided to take the risk. quivering under the night breeze. nearer. I perceived a strange light. The northern hills were shrouded in darkness. He became suddenly very generous. red and clear. He was no longer the energetic regenerator of his species I had encountered in the morning. I taking the northern side and he the southern. For a space I could not understand it. I took a cigar.com . Then. At first I stared unintelligently across the London valley. Strange mind of man! that. "I am host today. I glanced from that to Mars. "We can dig better on this Thames-side burgundy. with our species upon the edge of extermination or appalling degradation. "No. and the artilleryman finished the champagne." said I. we could sit following the chance of this painted pasteboard." he said. and when he suggested a meal. I found the card game and several others we played extremely interesting.
I remember I flung away the cigar with a certain wasteful symbolism. The red weed was tumultuous at that time.I remained a very long time upon the roof. I saw altogether about a dozen in the length of the Fulham Road. wondering at the grotesque changes of the day. Some way towards Walham Green the streets became clear of powder. the streets were quiet again. so that I hurried quickly past them. I got food--sour.com . There was black dust along the roadway from the bridge onwards. There. I was still upon the roof when the late moon rose. I recalled my mental states from the midnight prayer to the foolish card-playing. hard. Going on towards Brompton. Here I came once more upon the black powder in the streets and upon dead bodies. I went down the hill. the desertion. and by the High Street across the bridge to Fulham. They had been dead many days. The black powder covered them over. The streets were horribly quiet. but apparently the thief had been disturbed. My folly came to me with glaring exaggeration. but helplessly and speechlessly drunk. the houses locked up and the blinds drawn. and the stillness. I seemed a traitor to my wife and to my kind. I did not trouble PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. the noise of the burning was an absolute relief. but quite eatable--in a baker's shop here. and softened their outlines. and I passed a white terrace of houses on fire. and mouldy. I think I should have stayed by him but for the brutal expression of his face. but rarely at other than the provision and wine shops. and to go on into London. I had the best chance of learning what the Martians and my fellowmen were doing. I was filled with remorse. it seemed to me. In some places plunderers had been at work. but its fronds were already whitened in patches by the spreading disease that presently removed it so swiftly. At the corner of the lane that runs to Putney Bridge station I found a man lying. CHAPTER EIGHT DEAD LONDON After I had parted from the artilleryman. I could get nothing from him but curses and furious lunges at my head. and it grew thicker in Fulham. and nearly choked the bridge roadway. it was curiously like a Sunday in the City. A jeweller's window had been broken open in one place. Where there was no black powder. I resolved to leave this strange undisciplined dreamer of great things to his drink and gluttony. He was as black as a sweep with the black dust. and a number of gold chains and a watch lay scattered on the pavement. with the closed shops. One or two had been disturbed by dogs. alive. I had a violent revulsion of feeling.fineprint.
and in its black shroud? I felt intolerably lonely. coming. who so far as I knew. shared the city with myself. Why was I wandering alone in this city of the dead? Why was I alone when all London was lying in state. and a smashed magnum of champagne formed a pool across the pavement. from the district about Regent's Park. "Ulla." cried the voice. wondering at this strange. I stopped. I came into Oxford Street by the Marble Arch. The mood that had sustained me passed. In South Kensington the streets were clear of dead and of black powder. between the tall buildings on each side. . ulla. . ulla. but she was dead.to touch them. But it was not so much the stillness of death-it was the stillness of suspense.fineprint. At the top. might strike among these houses and leave them smoking ruins. . I turned northwards. Farther on was a tattered woman in a heap on a doorstep. sunlit roadway. ulla. The farther I penetrated into London. It was as if that mighty desert of houses had found a voice for its fear and solitude. It was near South Kensington that I first heard the howling. though I could see nothing above the housetops on the north side of the park. The desolating cry worked upon my mind. footsore. When I passed streets that ran northward it grew in volume. and now again hungry and thirsty. My mind ran on old friends that I had forgotten for years. and my footsteps echoed against the sides of the houses. and the skeleton of a horse picked clean." keeping on perpetually. save a haze of smoke to the northwest. staring towards Kensington Gardens. It crept almost imperceptibly upon my senses. The wailing took possession of me. the hand that hung over her knee was gashed and bled down her rusty brown dress. "Ulla. It was a sobbing alternation of two notes. I came upon a strange sight--a bus overturned. ulla. . and here PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. near the park gate. and then went on to the bridge over the Serpentine. ulla. I recalled the two sodden creatures of despair. marvelling. . remote wailing. towards the iron gates of Hyde Park. All the large mansions on each side of the road were empty and still. . She seemed asleep. At any time the destruction that had already singed the northwestern borders of the metropolis. ulla. I puzzled over this for a time. "Ulla. of expectation. and had annihilated Ealing and Kilburn. I found I was intensely weary. I had half a mind to break into the Natural History Museum and find my way up to the summits of the towers." wailed that superhuman note-great waves of sound sweeping down the broad. It was already past noon. where quick hiding was possible. ulla.com . I thought of the poisons in the chemists" shops. ulla. the profounder grew the stillness. But I decided to keep to the ground. and houses and buildings seemed to deaden and cut it off again. ulla. It was a city condemned and derelict. It came in a full tide down Exhibition Road. as it seemed to me. The voice grew stronger and stronger. of the liquors the wine merchants stored. in order to see across the park. and so went on up the Exhibition Road.
ulla. ominous smell from the gratings of the cellars of some of the houses. It was only as I clambered among the ruins that I saw. I came upon the wrecked handling-machine halfway to St. and saw. Perhaps I was too tired to be very fearful. as motionless as the first. Far away. It seemed as if it had driven blindly straight at the house. I awoke to find that dismal howling still in my ears. through a gap in the trees. I came upon him as if it were a matter of course. but he did not move. As the yelping died away down the silent road. With infinite trouble I managed to break into a public-house and get food and drink. among the ruins it had made. were invisible to me. "Ulla. standing in the park towards the Zoological Gardens. and slept on a black horsehair sofa I found there. the wailing sound of "Ulla. ulla. as though he feared I might prove a fresh competitor." reasserted itself. ulla. A little beyond the ruins about the smashed handling-machine I came upon the red weed again. first a dog with a piece of putrescent red meat in his jaws coming headlong towards me. and got a view of this stationary. Certainly I was more curious to know the reason of this monotonous crying than afraid. He made a wide curve to avoid me. I was not terrified. a spongy mass of dark-red vegetation.fineprint. and silent. and went into the parlour behind the bar. ulla. The forepart was shattered. went along under the shelter of the terraces. At first I thought a house had fallen across the road. with a start. and an evil. That perpetual sound of "Ulla. A couple of hundred yards out of Baker Street I heard a yelping chorus. intending to skirt the park. ulla. It seemed to me then that this might have happened by a handling-machine escaping from the guidance of its Martian. and found the Regent's Canal. and after I had routed out some biscuits and a cheese in the bar--there was a meat safe. ulla. and then a pack of starving mongrels in pursuit of him. with its tentacles bent and smashed and twisted. And as I emerged from the top of Baker Street. I watched him for some time. John's Wood. PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. I tried to formulate a plan of action.com . I was weary after eating. I could not clamber among the ruins to see it. ulla. this mechanical Samson lying." confused my mind. and the gnawed gristle of the Martian that the dogs had left. He appeared to be standing and yelling. and had been overwhelmed in its overthrow. I turned back away from the park and struck into Park Road. ulla. but it contained nothing but maggots--I wandered on through the silent residential squares to Baker Street --Portman Square is the only one I can name--and so came out at last upon Regent's Park. I saw far away over the trees in the clearness of the sunset the hood of the Martian giant from which this howling proceeded.again were black powder and several bodies. howling Martian from the direction of St. Wondering still more at all that I had seen." It was now dusk. John's Wood station. I saw a second Martian. I pushed on towards Primrose Hill. and the twilight was now so far advanced that the blood with which its seat was smeared. for no reason that I could discover. I grew very thirsty after the heat of my long walk. ulla.
was coming upon me. until long after midnight. I turned down St. And scattered about it.com . and emerged upon the grass before the rising of the sun. as it were. I missed my way among the streets. making a huge redoubt of it--it was the final and largest place the Martians had made--and from behind these heaps there rose a thin smoke against the sky. I marched on recklessly towards this Titan. and I saw a contorted shape lying across the pathway. the trees towards the park were growing black. Night. An insane resolve possessed me. I hid from the night and the silence. But while that voice sounded the solitude. The silence came like a thunderclap. some in their over- PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. At that my heart gave a bound. and then. Then suddenly a change. About me my imagination found a thousand noiseless enemies moving. was a third Martian. towering up to the fading stars. I could not bring myself to go on. and presently saw down a long avenue. a horror of my temerity. the passing of something--I knew not what--and then a stillness that could be felt. and ran headlong from this unendurable stillness towards Kilburn. The dusky houses about me stood faint and tall and dim. ulla. huge mounds of material and strange shelter places. In another moment I had scrambled up the earthen rampart and stood upon its crest. writhing to get above me in the dimness. Nothing but this gaunt quiet. Terror seized me. And I would save myself even the trouble of killing myself. I felt no fear. ulla. and while the stars were still in the sky I turned once more towards Regent's Park.As I crossed the bridge. grew credible. In front of me the road became pitchy black as though it was tarred. the curve of Primrose Hill. cut off. I saw that a multitude of black birds was circling and clustering about the hood. Out of the hood hung lank shreds of brown. and the sense of life about me had upheld me. London about me gazed at me spectrally. A mighty space it was. erect and motionless like the others. All about me the red weed clambered among the ruins. trembling exultation. Edmund's Terrace (I waded breast-high across a torrent of water that was rushing down from the waterworks towards the Albert Road). I would die and end it. Great mounds had been heaped about the crest of the hill. by virtue of it London had still seemed alive. It was.fineprint. Against the sky line an eager dog ran and disappeared. with gigantic machines here and there within it. the sound of "Ulla. at which the hungry birds pecked and tore. and I began running along the road." ceased. The windows in the white houses were like the eye sockets of skulls. as I drew nearer and the light grew. and the interior of the redoubt was below me. I hurried through the red weed that choked St. John's Wood Road. had been endurable. ulla. On the summit. in a cabmen's shelter in Harrow Road. in the half-light of the early dawn. But before the dawn my courage returned. The thought that had flashed into my mind grew real. the desolation. only a wild. as I ran up the hill towards the motionless monster. the mother of fear and mystery.
Here and there they were scattered. the mighty engines. to no germs do we succumb without a struggle. perhaps it was the last to die. has put upon this earth. our microscopic allies began to work their overthrow. just as death had overtaken them. These germs of disease have taken toll of humanity since the beginning of things--taken toll of our prehuman ancestors since life began here. so unearthly in their tortuous forms. harmless tripod towers of shining metal. far below me. Death had come not a day too soon. and a dozen of them stark and silent and laid in a row. The one had died.turned war-machines. The pit was still in darkness. rose weird and vague and strange out of the shadows towards the light. I stood staring into the pit. I could hear. fought over the bodies that lay darkly in the depth of the pit. and its voice had gone on perpetually until the force of its machinery was exhausted. that God had repented. even as the rising sun struck the world to fire about me with his rays. by the humblest things that God. directly they drank and fed. PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. All I knew was that these things that had been alive and so terrible to men were dead. overtaken by a death that must have seemed to them as incomprehensible as any death could be. that the Angel of Death had slain them in the night. and directly these invaders arrived. Across the pit on its farther lip. flat and vast and strange. enhaloed now in birds. and it is his against all comers. for instance --our living frames are altogether immune. Already when I watched them they were irrevocably doomed. even as it had been crying to its companions. in that great gulf they had made. lay the great flying-machine with which they had been experimenting upon our denser atmosphere when decay and death arrested them. and my heart lightened gloriously. dying and rotting even as they went to and fro.com . For neither do men live nor die in vain. By the toll of a billion deaths man has bought his birthright of the earth. For a moment I believed that the destruction of Sennacherib had been repeated. A multitude of dogs. But there are no bacteria in Mars. as indeed I and many men might have foreseen had not terror and disaster blinded our minds.fineprint. They glittered now. slain. so great and wonderful in their power and complexity. were the Martians--DEAD!--slain by the putrefactive and disease bacteria against which their systems were unprepared. slain as the red weed was being slain. stood those other two Martians that I had seen overnight. in his wisdom. It was inevitable. I turned and looked down the slope of the hill to where. For so it had come about. after all man's devices had failed. To me also at that time this death was incomprehensible. nearly fifty altogether. and to many-those that cause putrefaction in dead matter. But by virtue of this natural selection of our kind we have developed resisting power. At the sound of a cawing overhead I looked up at the huge fighting-machine that would fight no more for ever. at the tattered red shreds of flesh that dripped down upon the overturned seats on the summit of Primrose Hill. some in the now rigid handlingmachines. it would still be his were the Martians ten times as mighty as they are.
in the brightness of the rising sun. blue and crowded with houses. the jagged ruins of Westminster rising hazily beyond. and the old life of hope and tender helpfulness that had ceased for ever. would presently be echoing with the hammers of the restorers and ringing with the tapping of their trowels. and of the swift and ruthless destruction that had hung over it all. over the blackened ruins of the Albert Terrace and the splintered spire of the church. would begin to return. lawless. stretched the great Mother of Cities. and injured. The survivors of the people scattered over the country--leaderless. the green waves of Regent's Park. Far away and blue were the Surrey hills. the hand of the destroyer was stayed. All about the pit. Even that day the healing would begin. westward the great city was dimmed. I saw for the first time. the pulse of life. Those who have only seen London veiled in her sombre robes of smoke can scarcely imagine the naked clearness and beauty of the silent wilderness of houses. And as I looked at this wide expanse of houses and factories and churches. Paul's was dark against the sunrise. and here and there some facet in the great wilderness of roofs caught the light and glared with a white intensity. growing stronger and stronger. Northward were Kilburn and Hampsted. I felt a wave of emotion that was near akin to tears. Eastward. the sun blazed dazzling in a clear sky. the Imperial Institute. the Langham Hotel. as I thought of the multitudinous hopes and efforts. the innumerable hosts of lives that had gone to build this human reef. would beat again in the empty streets and pour across the vacant squares. like sheep without a shepherd--the thousands who had fled by sea. of my wife. the dome of the Albert Hall. and this dear vast dead city of mine be once more alive and powerful. and that men might still live in the streets. With overwhelming force came the thought of myself. and southward.com . foodless. by a huge gaping cavity on its western side. and saved as by a miracle from everlasting destruction. silent and abandoned. thought I--in a year. the blackened skeletons of houses that stared so dismally at the sunlit grass of the hill. The dome of St. and the towers of the Crystal Palace glittered like two silver rods.fineprint. Whatever destruction was done. At the thought I extended my hands towards the sky and began thanking God. and the giant mansions of the Brompton Road came out clear and little in the sunrise. The torment was over. All the gaunt wrecks. when I realised that the shadow had been rolled back. . In a year. CHAPTER NINE PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. beyond the Martians. .
and. and meat were tearing to our relief. bread. whose name. in the mere wantonness of power. until all England was bell-ringing. as I have heard. Already men. They dissuaded me. unkempt. did they break to me what they had learned of the fate of Leatherhead. All the shipping in the world seemed going Londonward in those days. I was a lonely man. a growing craving to look once more on whatever remained of the little life that seemed so happy and bright in my past.WRECKAGE And now comes the strangest thing in my story. several such wanderers as myself had already discovered this on the previous night. I was a lonely man and a sad one. staring figures of despair. and. shouting to gaunt. to descend upon London. He had swept it out of existence. and raving through the streets of St. I may not even give here. lean-faced. I remained with them four days after my recovery. sheltered me. Thence the joyful news had flashed all over the world. Two days after I was imprisoned it had been destroyed. with every soul in it. Men on cycles. perhaps. chilled by ghastly apprehensions. nevertheless cumbered themselves with me. scorched along every country lane shouting of unhoped deliverance. But of all this I have no memory. at the time when I stood upon the verge of the pit. suddenly flashed into frantic illuminations. and they were very kind to me. had contrived to telegraph to Paris. were making up trains. Very gently. they knew of it in Dublin. All that time I felt a vague. across the Irish Sea. who had found me on the third day wandering. I have learned since that. Of the next three days I know nothing. a thousand cities. I found myself in a house of kindly people. while I sheltered in the cabmen's hut. And then I forget. and protected me from myself. They did all they could to divert me from this morbidity. But at last I could resist the impulse no longer. shouting and staying their work to shake hands and shout. Edinburgh. Yet. by a Martian. and they bore with me. The church bells that had ceased a fortnight since suddenly caught the news. promising faithfully to PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. I remember. across the Atlantic. weeping with joy. Birmingham. One man-the first--had gone to St. clearly and coldly and vividly. when my mind was assured again. weeping. corn. And for the food! Across the Channel. as it seemed. much as I would like to express my gratitude to them. without any provocation. Manchester. even as near as Crewe. Apparently they had learned something of my story from me during the days of my lapse. all that I did that day until the time that I stood weeping and praising God upon the summit of Primrose Hill. Martin's-le-Grand. so far from my being the first discoverer of the Martian overthrow.fineprint. as a boy might crush an ant hill. these people. It was a mere hopeless desire to feast upon my misery. John's Wood. I drifted--a demented man. it is not altogether strange. They have told me since that I was singing some insane doggerel about "The Last Man Left Alive! Hurrah! The Last Man Left Alive!" Troubled as they were with their own affairs.com .
and parting. how shaggy the hair of the men. the article assured me what I did not believe at the time. The vestries were indiscriminately distributing bread sent us by the French government. At Waterloo I found the free trains that were taking people to their homes. But then I noticed how yellow were the skins of the people I met. and I was in no mood for casual conversation. and we were jolted over a hasty relaying.return to them. in spite of two days of thunderstorms and rain. Already they were busy with returning people. I saw one of the common contrasts of that grotesque time--a sheet of paper flaunting against a thicket of the red weed. There were few people in the train. the news organisation had not as yet found its way back. The matter he printed was emotional. The ribs of the few horses showed dismally. and at Clapham Junction the line had been wrecked again. looking greyly at the sunlit devastation that flowed past the windows. I bought a copy for a blackened shilling I found in my pocket. and there I saw the red weed clambering over the buttresses of Waterloo Bridge. Most of it was in blank. I got a compartment to myself. The first rush was already over. and I saw a drinking fountain running water. Among other things. Haggard special constables with white badges stood at the corners of every street. Save for the expression of the faces. I learned nothing fresh except that already in one week the examination of the Martian mechanisms had yielded astonishing results. how large and bright their eyes.com . that it seemed incredible that any great proportion of the population could have been slain. there were hundreds of out-of-work clerks and shopmen working side by side with the customary navvies. but the solitary compositor who did the thing had amused himself by making a grotesque scheme of advertisement stereo on the back page. busied in a thousand activities. Their faces seemed all with one of two expressions--a leaping exultation and energy or a grim resolution. I went out again into the streets that had lately been so dark and strange and empty. Walton." was discovered. and that every other man still wore his dirty rags. seemed PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. too. And just outside the terminus the train jolted over temporary rails. To Clapham Junction the face of London was grimy with powder of the Black Smoke. London seemed a city of tramps. and on either side of the railway the houses were blackened ruins. transfixed by a stick that kept it in place. So many people were abroad everywhere. All down the line from there the aspect of the country was gaunt and unfamiliar. I remember how mockingly bright the day seemed as I went back on my melancholy pilgrimage to the little house at Woking. how busy the streets and vivid the moving life about me. It was the placard of the first newspaper to resume publication--the DAILY MAIL. I saw little of the mischief wrought by the Martians until I reached Wellington Street.fineprint. from these four-day friends with tears. that the "Secret of Flying. At the corner of the bridge. and sat with folded arms. as I will confess. by virtue of its unburned pine woods. in places even there were shops open. Wimbledon particularly had suffered.
The stair carpet was ruffled and discoloured where I had crouched. "we may expect----" The sentence ended abruptly. were the heaped masses of earth about the sixth cylinder. it was unfast and was opening slowly as I approached. For a space I stood reading over my abandoned arguments. scarcely a month gone by. and how I had listened to his odd story of "Men from Mars. and the house felt empty. The smashed bushes were just as I had left them nearly four weeks ago. I followed them to my study. . I remembered my inability to fix my mind that morning. Then I returned through the pine wood. I turned aside to find. The Surrey pine woods were too dry. A man standing at an open cottage door greeted me by name as I passed. neck-high with red weed here and there." I had written. Here. No one had closed it since. The door had been forced. One's gaze went with infinite relief from the scorched greys and sullen reds of the foreground to the blue-green softness of the eastward hills. Over it flaunted a Union Jack. soaked to the skin from the thunderstorm the night of the catastrophe. and the last sentence was the opening of a prophecy: "In about two hundred years. to find the landlord of the Spotted Dog had already found burial. Beyond Wimbledon. the sheet of work I had left on the afternoon of the opening of the cylinder. however. among a tangle of red fronds. .com . was a heaped mass of red weed. For a time I stood regarding these vestiges. moved by curiosity. in appearance between butcher's meat and pickled cabbage. flapping cheerfully in the morning breeze. I looked at my house with a quick flash of hope that faded immediately. A number of people were standing about it.fineprint. and how I had broken off to get my DAILY CHRONICLE from the newsboy. with the selenite paper weight upon it. I remembered how I went down to the garden gate as he came along. Our muddy footsteps I saw still went up the stairs." PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. The Wandle. It was a paper on the probable development of Moral Ideas with the development of the civilising process. for the festoons of the red climber. The curtains of my study fluttered out of the open window from which I and the artilleryman had watched the dawn. The line on the London side of Woking station was still undergoing repair. . I stumbled into the hall. and found lying on my writing-table still. The nursery grounds were everywhere crimson with the weed. and so came home past the College Arms. within sight of the line. the Mole. every little stream. a wide expanse of livid colour cut with purple shadows. It slammed again. and some sappers were busy in the midst of it.the least hurt of any place along the line. so I descended at Byfleet station and took the road to Maybury. and very painful to the eye. in certain nursery grounds. and on by the spot where the Martian had appeared to me in the thunderstorm. past the place where I and the artilleryman had talked to the hussars. the warped and broken dog cart with the whitened bones of the horse scattered and gnawed.
and the French window was open behind me. At any rate. just as I and the artilleryman had left them. No one escaped but you. and the generator of the Heat-Rays remains a puzzle. "I came. "I knew--knew----" I made a step She put her hand to her throat--swayed.com . "It is no use. Spectrum analysis of the black powder points unmistakably to the presence of an unknown element with a brilliant group of three lines in the green. it is by no means a proven conclusion. And then a strange thing occurred. And there. My knowledge of comparative physiology is confined to a book or two. She gave a faint cry. and the reckless slaughter they perpetrated. no bacteria except those already known as terrestrial species were found. amazed and afraid.fineprint. "The house is deserted. That they did not bury any of their dead. No one has been here these ten days. how little I am able to contribute to the discussion of the many debatable questions which are still unsettled. The terrible disasters at the Ealing and South Kensington laboratories have disinclined analysts for further investigations upon the latter. and caught her in my arms. both far gone now in decay. and a beer bottle overturned." said a voice." she said.I came down and went into the dining room." I was startled. I have assumed that in the body of my narrative. in all the bodies of the Martians that were examined after the war. CHAPTER TEN THE EPILOGUE I cannot but regret. My home was desolate. Had I spoken my thought aloud? I turned. In one respect I shall certainly provoke criticism. I made a step to it. now that I am concluding my story. and it is possible that it combines with argon to form a compound PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. but it seems to me that Carver's suggestions as to the reason of the rapid death of the Martians is so probable as to be regarded almost as a proven conclusion. My particular province is speculative philosophy. Do not stay here to torment yourself. Neither is the composition of the Black Smoke known. point also to an entire ignorance of the putrefactive process. There were the mutton and the bread. But probable as this seems. which the Martians used with such deadly effect. even as I stood amazed and afraid. were my cousin and my wife--my wife white and tearless. and stood looking out. I perceived the folly of the faint hope I had cherished so long. forward.
At any rate. that is to say. we can never anticipate the unseen good or evil that may come upon us suddenly out of space. The results of an anatomical examination of the Martians. One needs to see the drawings of these appearances in order to appreciate fully their remarkable resemblance in character. It may be that across the immensity of space the Martians have watched the fate of these pioneers of theirs and learned their lesson. A question of graver and universal interest is the possibility of another attack from the Martians. and beyond that the interest of their physiology and structure is purely scientific. Seven months ago now. or they might be butchered by means of guns so soon as the screw opened. I have already given. and the countless drawings that have been made from it. Lessing has advanced excellent reasons for supposing that the Martians have actually succeeded in effecting a landing on the planet Venus. In that case the cylinder might be destroyed with dynamite or artillery before it was sufficiently cool for the Martians to emerge. for one. At present the planet Mars is in conjunction. It seems to me that they have lost a vast advantage in the failure of their first surprise.com . I do not think that nearly enough attention is being given to this aspect of the matter. we should be prepared. whether we expect another invasion or not. None of the brown scum that drifted down the Thames after the destruction of Shepperton was examined at the time. But everyone is familiar with the magnificent and almost complete specimen in spirits at the Natural History Museum. to whom this story is addressed. the gifts to human science it has brought are enormous. and it has done much to promote the conception of the commonweal of mankind.fineprint. and almost simultaneously a faint dark mark of a similar sinuous character was detected upon a photograph of the Martian disk. But such unproven speculations will scarcely be of interest to the general reader. Venus and Mars were in alignment with the sun. and that on the planet Venus they have found a securer PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. In any case. our views of the human future must be greatly modified by these events. It may be that in the larger design of the universe this invasion from Mars is not without its ultimate benefit for men. Mars was in opposition from the point of view of an observer on Venus. but with every return to opposition I.which acts at once with deadly effect upon some constituent in the blood. Subsequently a peculiar luminous and sinuous marking appeared on the unillumined half of the inner planet. We have learned now that we cannot regard this planet as being fenced in and a secure abiding place for Man. Possibly they see it in the same light. anticipate a renewal of their adventure. to keep a sustained watch upon this part of the planet. It seems to me that it should be possible to define the position of the gun from which the shots are discharged. and to anticipate the arrival of the next attack. so far as the prowling dogs had left such an examination possible. and now none is forthcoming. it has robbed us of that serene confidence in the future which is the most fruitful source of decadence.
and I wake. a butcher boy in a cart. to see the great province of houses. dim and blue through the haze of the smoke and mist. and suddenly I see again the healing valley below set with writhing flames. that the destruction of the Martians is only a reprieve. . and the contorted bodies shrouded in that layer. and when the slow cooling of the sun makes this earth uninhabitable. among the dead. And strangest of all is it to hold my wife's hand again. to see the people walking to and fro among the flower beds on the hill. perhaps. Before the cylinder fell there was a general persuasion that through all the deep of space no life existed beyond the petty surface of our minute sphere. under the dawn of that last great day. I go out into the Byfleet Road. vanishing at last into the vague lower sky. cold and wretched. for many years yet there will relaxation of the eager scrutiny of the Martian fiery darts of the sky. is the future ordained. and suddenly they become vague and unreal. I go to London and see the busy multitudes in Fleet Street and the Strand. brooding silence. and not to us. and to think that I have counted her. and vehicles pass me. to hear the tumult of playing children. . too. they rise upon me tattered and dog-bitten. going to and fro. Dim and wonderful is the vision I have conjured up in my mind of life spreading slowly from this little seed bed of the solar system throughout the inanimate vastness of sidereal space. Of a night I see the black powder darkening the silent streets. hard and silent. as I did but a day before writing this last chapter. Now we see further. in the darkness of the night.com . I sit in my study writing by lamplight.settlement. paler.fineprint. the shooting stars. as at last it must do. and it comes across my mind that they are but the ghosts of the past. To them. Be certainly be no disk. uglier. They gibber and grow fiercer. it is to stand on Primrose Hill. children going to school. and I hurry again with the artilleryman through the hot. phantasms in a dead city. But that is a remote dream. there is no reason to suppose that the thing is impossible for men. and those bring with them all the sons of that as it may. It may be. PDF created with FinePrint pdfFactory trial version http://www. it may be that the thread of life that has begun here will have streamed out and caught our sister planet within its toils. If the Martians can reach Venus. will as they fall an unavoidable apprehension to men. and to recall the time when I saw it all bright and clear-cut. a cabful of visitors. haunting the streets that I have seen silent and wretched. . on the other hand. mad distortions of humanity at last. I must confess the stress and danger of the time have left an abiding sense of doubt and insecurity in my mind. And strange. to see the sight-seers about the Martian machine that stands there still. a workman on a bicycle. and that she has counted me. the mockery of life in a galvanised body. The broadening of men's views that has resulted can scarcely be exaggerated. and feel the house behind and about me empty and desolate.
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